Agroforestry is an agricultural approach of using the interactive benefits from combining trees and shrubs with crops and/or livestock.It combines agriculture and forestry technologies to create more integrated, diverse, productive, profitable, healthy and sustainable land-use systems. [ [ USDA National Agroforestry Center (NAC) ] ]


"Agroforestry is a collective name for land use systems and practices in which woody perennials are deliberately integrated with crops and/or animals on the same land management unit. The integration can be either in a spatial mixture or in a temporal sequence. There are normally both ecological and economic interactions between woody and non-woody components in agroforestry"."-World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) 1993

It means that trees are intentionally used within agricultural systems. Knowledge, careful selection of species and good management of trees and crops are needed to maximize the production and positive effects of trees and to minimize negative competitive effects on crops.

Alternatively, agroforestry might be defined as simply: "trees on farms" [] . Hence, agroforestry, farm forestry and family forestry can be broadly understood as the commitment of farmers, alone or in partnerships, towards the establishment and management of forests on their land. Where many landholders are involved the result is a diversity of activity that reflects the diversity of aspirations and interests within the community.


Biodiversity in agroforestry systems is typically higher than in conventional agricultural systems. Agroforestry incorporates at least several plant species into a given land area and creates a more complex habitat that can support a wider variety of birds, insects, and other animals. Agroforestry also has the potential to help reduce climate change since trees take up and store carbon at a faster rate than crop plants.

Alley cropping

Alley cropping, 'sun systems, or Intercropping is a strategy used by farmers to combat soil erosion. In this method, several crops are planted together in strips or alleys between trees and shrubs. This design provides shade (reducing water loss from evaporation), ensures retention of soil moisture, and can also produce fruit, fuelwood, fodder, or trimmings to be made into mulch.

Forest Farming

Forest farming, also known as 'shade systems' is the sustainable, integrated cultivation of both timber and non-timber forest products in shaded forest understory. Forest farming is separate and distinct from the opportunistic exploitation of wild non-timber forest products. Successful forest farming operations produce: mushrooms, maple and birch syrup, native plants used for landscaping and floral greenery (e.g. salal, sword fern, bear grass, cedar boughs and others), medicinal and pharmaceutical products (e.g. ginseng, goldenseal, cascara or yew bark), wild berries and fruit.


Silvopastures combine livestock grazing on forage crops or pastures within actively managed tree crops. Cattle, sheep and goats have all been incorporated into silvopasture systems in British Columbia and they may be deployed entirely within a private farm/woodlot silvopasture or through collaborative arrangements between forest licensees and livestock producers on Crown land (e.g. using sheep as a vegetation management tool on forest plantations).

Integrated Riparian Management

Riparian buffers are managed forest and shrubs in areas bordering lakes, streams, rivers, and wetlands. Integrated riparian management systems are used to enhance and protect aquatic and riparian resources as well as generating income from timber and non-timber forest products. Similar to shelter and timberbelts, integrated riparian management systems can employ a wide variety of tree and shrub species, with specific plantings tailored to suit the specific growing conditions and production opportunities.

Other Uses

Agroforestry practices may also be employed to realize a number of other associated Environmental Services, including:

* Carbon sequestration
* Odour, dust, and noise reduction
* Waste water or manure management (e.g. utilizing urban waste water on intensive, short rotation forests for wood fibre production)
* Green space and visual aesthetics.
* Enhancement or maintenance of wildlife habitat.

See also

* Sustainable agriculture
* Permaculture
* Forest gardening
* Home gardens
* Biomass
* Forest farming
* Analog forestry
* Terra preta


* "The Springer Journal", "Agroforesty Systems" (ISSN 1572-9680) [,11855,4-40109-70-35633632-0,00.html]


External links

* [ University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry]
* [ British Columbia Agroforestry Initiative]
* [ World Agroforestry Centre]
* [ Silvoarable Agroforestry for Europe]
* [ USDA National Agroforestry Center]
* [ The Green Belt Movement]
* [ Vi-Skogen]
* [ Agroforestry Research Trust]
* [ Plants For A Future]
* [ Agroforestry parklands in sub-Saharan Africa]
* [ Willow Biomass Project]
* [ Salix Project]
* [ NPR Science Fridays Podcast - Conservation and Renewable Energy in New York State]
* [,1607,7-154-25676_25753---,00.html Michigan Biomass Energy Program]
* Nut tree agroforestry [ 1] [ 2] [ 3]
* [ Trees for the Future]
* [ Farm Woodland Forum]
* Australian Agroforestry and Farm Forestry []

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Agroforestry — The integration of agriculture and/or farming with forestry so the land can simultaneously be used for more than one purpose. This practice is meant to have both environmental and financial benefits. The presence of trees can provide benefits… …   Investment dictionary

  • agroforestry — noun Date: 1977 land management involving the growing of trees in association with food crops or pastures • agroforester noun …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • agroforestry — ag·ro·for·est·ry (ăg rō fôrʹĭ strē, fŏrʹ ) n. A system of land use in which harvestable trees or shrubs are grown among or around crops or on pastureland, as a means of preserving or enhancing the productivity of the land. * * * …   Universalium

  • agroforestry — noun an agricultural approach of using the interactive benefits from combining trees and shrubs with crops and/or livestock …   Wiktionary

  • agroforestry — noun agriculture incorporating the cultivation of trees …   English new terms dictionary

  • agroforestry — ag·ro·forestry …   English syllables

  • agroforestry — /ægroʊˈfɒrəstri/ (say agroh foruhstree) noun the practice of using land simultaneously for the grazing of animals and for the commercial growing of timber. Also, agriforestry …   Australian English dictionary

  • agroforestry — …   Useful english dictionary

  • World Agroforestry Centre — The World Agroforestry Centre (known as the International Centre for Research in Agroforestry, ICRAF before 2002), is an international institute headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, and founded in 1978. The Centre specializes in the sustainable… …   Wikipedia

  • World Agroforestry Centre — Das World Agroforestry Centre ist eine international tätige Forschungseinrichtung, die durch Erforschung der Agroforstwirtschaft Armut bekämpfen und Umwelt schützen soll. Es wurde 1978 als International Council for Research in Agroforestry… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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