Agroforestry System

Agroforestry systems (AFS) are land management practices in which trees and shrubs are produced on the same land area as agricultural crops or livestock. Therefore, agroforestry systems combine trees, crops, or livestock to increase diversity, productivity, profitability, and environmental stewardship. Therefore, agroforestry systems can provide a sustainable alternative to biologically simplified or low diversity cropping systems. 

Agroforestry systems are also suited for the rejuvenation of marginal land in both temperate and tropical biomes. Improved soil quality, through organic matter input from trees and crops lead to increased crop yield, ensuring the long-term security of food and soil. The tree and soil component of agroforestry systems can also be a long-term sink for carbon, thereby contributing to climate change mitigation. In 2013 the United Nations Federation of Agriculture Organization (UN-FAO) recommended the adoption of agroforestry practices for food security and the need for developing country governments to incorporate agroforestry into their national agricultural policies. 

Agroforestry systems are also of interest since they can offset the need for deforestation in tropical environments. It was estimated that for each hectare of sustainable agroforestry production, up to twenty hectares of deforestation could be prevented. Apart from enhancing soil health and crop productivity, agroforestry systems also have other environmental benefits. These include reduced nutrient leaching and soil erosion, maintenance of nutrient cycling, reduction of weeds and pests, enhanced soil water availability and enhanced biodiversity. Agroforestry provides a more diverse farming system, thereby reducing economic risks due to the production of multiple products. This also helps to stimulate the rural economy.