Plantation agriculture is an important form of land-use in the tropics. Large areas of natural and regenerated forest have been cleared for growing oil palm, rubber, cocoa, coffee, and other perennial tree crops. These crops grown both on large scale plantations and by smallholders are important source of income for many farmers in tropical regions. It is generally assumed that a perennial tree cover protects the soil better against erosion than do annual crops. But tree crops may require several years to close their canopy, whereas most annual crops provide adequate cover within six weeks after planting. During the immature phase of tree crops, there may be insufficient soil cover. The effects of tree crops on soil erosion have been fairly well documented. Soil erosion and sediment transport from catchments with natural forests are minimal
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