This paper examines opposing land use strategies in cacao agroforestry in Sulawesi by using data on species richness of nine plant and animal taxa, six related ecosystem functions, and socioeconomic drivers of agroforestry expansion. Data was collected around Toro village in the Kulawi valley in four forest and 12 agroforestry plots. Findings reveal that transformation from near-primary forest to agroforestry had little effect on overall species richness, but reduced plant biomass and carbon storage by around 75 per cent and species richness of forest-using species by around 60 per cent. In contrast, increased land use intensity in cacao agroforestry, coupled with a reduction in shade tree cover from 80 to 40 per cent, caused only minor quantitative changes in biodiversity and maintained high levels of ecosystem functioning while doubling farmers' net income. However, unshaded systems further increased income by around 40 per cent, implying that current economic incentives and cultural preferences for new intensification practices put shaded systems at risk. The authors conclude that low-shade agroforestry provides the best compromise between economic forces and ecological needs. Certification schemes for shade-grown crops may provide a market-based mechanism to slow down current intensification trends.

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