Before the beginning of the agricultural industrialisation in Europe in the 1950s, landscapes were characterised by croplands surrounded with hedgerows, trees and other elements of agroforestry. Also, silvopastural systems, i.e. trees on pastures where common features in European farming. During the past three decades, agroforestry has become recognised over the world as an integrated approach to sustainable land use because of its production and environmental benefits and “re-enters” again also European agriculture including organic agriculture.
What is the SOLMACC practice
Agroforestry is a term describing systems that combine trees, crops and livestock and are managed as a whole production unit. It can take different forms:
- Shelterbelts consist of one or more rows of trees planted on the farm where the biomass from trees can be used for bioenergy purposes.
- Riparian buffers which consist of trees that can filter surface run-off, protect stream banks and shorelines from erosion.
- Alley cropping mixes trees, planted in single or grouped rows, with agricultural crops grown in alleys between tree rows.
- Silvopastures combine planted trees with livestock and/or forage production in one pasture.
As the project period of 5 years is too short to grow newly planted trees to a relevant size, this activity will focus on:
- optimising the use and shape of existing agroforestry elements
- advising and encouraging farmers to plant new agroforestry elements
What are the positive climate effects
Agroforestry leads to benefits in higher carbon sequestration below and above soil, stabilisation of soils (climate change mitigation and adaptation) and co-benefits for biodiversity and sustainable resource use.