Effects of shade on phenotypic characters of cocoa tree in the forest-savannah transition zone in central Côte d'Ivoire.
Central Côte d'Ivoire houses various cocoa-based agroforestry systems, which are distinguished by the density of shade trees: simple (open canopy, exotic species - banana and avocado), mixed (open canopy, few local species), and complex (closed canopy, numerous local species) systems. Flowering and fructification of 220 cocoa trees were monitored in 44 square plots of 625 m2, distributed in the three systems. The number of flowering pads, the number of ripe pods per cocoa tree and the mass and quality of cocoa pods are significantly higher in simple systems than in complex ones. Although the number of beans is not significantly different, the mass of beans is bigger in simple systems than in complex ones. The simple system appears to be the most productive; however, determining the value of the services rendered by the associated species will be necessary to assess sustainability.