Agroforestry systems

Author(s): 
No author information
Organisation: 
Organic Research Centre
Date: 
November 2015
Copyright: 
Creative Commons Licence
Related theme: 

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Resource explained: 

This page from the Organic Research Centre website gives an overview of modern agroforestry systems as well as the components, benefits and products of these systems. The page includes links to further information about the UK eco-agroforestry network, farms practicing agroforestry in the UK, and a paper titled 'Agroforestry: Reconciling Productivity with Protection of the Environment' providing detailed information on the benefits of this approach.

Findings & recommendations: 
  • Agroforestry systems can be made up of different elements including rows of trees, hedges, shelter belts, riparian woodland, coppiced woodland, orchards, grazed woodland, trees in pasture and pollards, as well as livestock and crop components.
  • All such ‘woody components’ should be fully integrated within the agricultural production system, with the aim of increasing diversity at all levels of the system (trees, crops and livestock).
  • The incorporation of trees into agricultural systems can help create microclimatic conditions which in turn can benefit crop growth and animal welfare. Additional benefits include soil management, weed control, natural fencing, carbon sequestration and nutrient recycling.
  • Agroforestry systems support the production of a wide range of products which can benefit the rural economy. Agroforestry can provide economic benefits either from direct sale of products, or indirectly from beneficial effects (e.g. a shelterbelt that produces higher yielding crops or sheep).