From the European Green Deal to the Farm to Fork Strategy, agroforestry is becoming a great solution to climate change mitigation, adaptation, resilience and biodiversity. It has a fantastic potential that is still not really understood. Here are some key concepts about what it is and the benefits of agroforestry taken from the World Agroforestry organization.
What is Agroforestry?
“Agroforestry is the interaction of agriculture and trees, including the agricultural use of trees. This comprises trees on farms and in agricultural landscapes, farming in forests and along forest margins and tree-crop production, including cocoa, coffee, rubber and palm oil. Interactions between trees and other components of agriculture may be important at a range of scales: in fields (where trees and crops are grown together), on farms (where trees may provide fodder for livestock, fuel, food, shelter or income from products including timber) and landscapes (where agricultural and forest land uses combine in determining the provision of ecosystem services)”.
Which are some of its main benefits?
“Agroforestry is agricultural and forestry systems that try to balance various needs: 1) to produce trees for timber and other commercial purposes; 2) to produce a diverse, adequate supply of nutritious foods both to meet global demand and to satisfy the needs of the producers themselves, and 3) to ensure the protection of the natural environment so that it continues to provide resources and environmental services to meet the needs of the present generations and those to come”.
“Agroforestry involves a wide range of trees that are protected, regenerated, planted or managed in agricultural landscapes as they interact with annual crops, livestock, wildlife and humans”.
“As natural forests are cleared for agriculture and other types of development, the benefits that trees provide are best sustained by integrating them into agriculturally-productive landscapes”.
“Agroforestry contributes directly to SDGs 1 (no poverty), 2 (zero hunger), 3 (good health and wellbeing), 6 (clean water and sanitation), 7 (affordable and clean energy), 8 (decent work and economic growth), 11 (sustainable cities and communities), 12 (responsible consumption and production), 13 (climate action), and 15 (life on land) and indirectly through implementation approaches to Goals 4 (quality education), 5 (gender equality), 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure),10 (reduced inequalities), 14 (life below water), 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions) and 17 (partnerships for the goals)”.