Main Article Content
This research compared six pairs of rubber agroforestry systems (rubber-AFS) and monocropping rubber plots (altogether twelve cases) in Songkhla, Phatthalung and Trang provinces in the following dimensions: 1) rubber plot management and socio-economic outcomes, using semi-structured and unstructured interviews, together with records of daily incomes and expenses from the plots during a 12 month period and 2) plant vertical structures and plant diversity. The research framework was based on the concept of five capital assets in the sustainable livelihoods approach (SLA) comprising natural, financial, social, human, and physical capital. The natural capital of the rubber-AFS owners was higher than that of the monocropping rubber plot owners in terms of diverse plant species and multiple vertical stratification and crown cover percentage. These could help reduce soil erosion. Higher numbers of plant species induced financial capital, due to higher average incomes (THB 1,875.46 ± 1,193.51 / day/rai) and lower average expenses in the rubber-AFS (THB 88.58 ± 148.36 /day/rai), compared to the monocropping rubber plots (THB 1,533.77 ± 443.67 /day/rai and THB 97.04 ± 104.14 /day/rai respectively). The social capital of rubber-AFS owners had been developed through co-learning experiences and social relationships between themselves and visitors interested in rubber-AFS. Increases in human capital in the form of the acquisition of knowledge and skills in managing their rubber-AFS with good health were found. An increase in physical capital was not yet evident.