The potential of palms in SE Asian agroforestry systems and home gardenswca2014-2034 Anders S. Barfod 1,*Manju Balhara 2Henrik Balslev 1 1Bioscience, Aarhus University, Aarhus C, Denmark, 2Botany, Shivaji College, University of Delhi, New Delhi, India
Throughout SE Asia palms constitute an important component in agroforestry systems and home gardens. Most species are used for multiple purposes based on their structural or nutritional properties. Except for a few commodities of worldwide importance such as palm oil, coconut and rattan, many palm products are almost invisible in national statistics because either, i) they do not enter the market, ii) they are traded at the microeconomic level or, iii) they are merged with other products in the trade statistics, which makes it difficult to assess their importance. Here we focus specifically on these “invisible” products and provide an overview of both their sustainability and economic importance throughout SE Asia. We will rank the most important palms according to their versatility, which is an extremely important property especially for smallholders who depend on subsistence agriculture. Finally, we provide a number recommendations on future research directions based on experiences from a recently completed EU 7th Framework project.