Utilisation of light and water in tropical agriculture


The resource capture approach developed by John Monteith has been applied in studies of a wide variety of plant species and cropping systems in the tropics over the past 18 years. The purpose of this review is to highlight the progress made and the new challenges which lie ahead. The foundation for this approach was the establishment of ‘response surfaces’ for the development and growth of tropical crops using controlled-environment facilities. The concepts of light interception and thermal time developed were then used to investigate the mechanisms responsible for overyielding in intercropping systems and genotypic differences in the drought adaptation of crops in the semi-arid tropics. The most significant achievements were in the understanding of temporal and spatial complementarity in intercropping and agroforestry systems and the development of plant growth models. More recently, the same concepts have been extended to the capture of below-ground resources in agroforestry systems and rain forests. The most serious remaining challenge is to extend this approach to studies of complex multispecies systems in the humid tropics.


Agricultural and Forest Meteorology(2000) 104 (1) 25-47 [10.1016/S0168-1923(00)00145-3]

Utilisation of light and water in tropical agriculture

Published 1 January 2000