Aboveground biomass and carbon content of a cocoa - Gliricida sepium agroforestry system in Ghana.
To help overcome the challenge faced in re-establishing cocoa in degraded lands, some agroforestry trials were established with exotic leguminous tree species to determine their suitability for cocoa cultivation. However, our understanding of biomass accumulation and carbon sequestration in such specific agroforestry practices is still limited. In this study the above-ground biomass and carbon storage and partitioning in a gliricidia-cocoa agroforestry system was investigated. Above-ground biomass accumulation and carbon stock varied significantly between the components of the system, with the gliricidia shade trees having the highest values and the cocoa trees having the lowest. The inclusion of the gliricidia shade trees in the system increased above-ground biomass and carbon capture of the system by some 60%, a greater proportion of which was contained in the branches of the shade trees. This pattern of dry matter distribution makes the species appropriate for use as a biomass producing species in agroforestry systems and demonstrates the potential of cocoa agroforestry systems for capturing and storing more atmospheric carbon than sole cocoa systems.