Economic outcomes of rubber-based agroforestry systems: a systematic review and narrative synthesis

A systematic review was conducted to examine expected economic outcomes of rubber-based agroforestry systems during mature rubber stage in comparison with monoculture rubber farming. Twelve studies were identified for a narrative synthesis of economic outcomes of the mature rubber production systems. The review found that whilst monoculture rubber production may produce higher income in some cases, particularly when rubber prices are high, profitable diversified rubber agroforestry systems were reported in all but one study. Rubber agroforestry has the potential to reduce the vulnerability of smallholders to volatile markets for rubber, particularly if the share of income from secondary species is substantial. Shade-tolerant crops with small canopies (e.g. coffee, bamboo and tea) are reported as ideal intercrops for rubber. Economically advantageous systems reported appeared to be rubber combined with species which provide additional income in the medium to long term (e.g. sheep and high value timber) and/or enhance ongoing cash flow with a lengthy productive lifespan and regular harvests (e.g. durian and gnetum). However, these systems are subject to many constraints such as labour availability, investment and management capacity and market conditions for secondary products. The review showed an absence of farm portfolio studies aimed at finding risk reducing enterprise combinations. Future research on economic outcomes of rubber agroforestry systems should firstly distinguish traditional jungle rubber from rubber agroforestry systems which use clonal rubber similar to those used in monoculture rubber, and secondly consider the full value of secondary products even if they are grown for own consumption.
© The Author(s) 2022. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Version of Scholarly Record of this Article is published in (Agroforestry Systems, 2022, available online at: . Keywords: economic; smallholder; rubber-based farming diversifcation; intercropping; rubber agroforestry; narrative synthesis.
Huang, I.Y., James, K., Thamthanakoon, N. et al. Economic outcomes of rubber-based agroforestry systems: a systematic review and narrative synthesis. Agroforest Syst 97, 335–354 (2023).