Agroforestry can be termed as a land use management system, where shrubs or trees are grown among pasturelands or crops. This diversification of the farming system helps a lot in initiating agroecological succession which is very much similar to that of natural ecosystems. Moreover, trees also help in producing a wide range of marketable and useful substances such as medicines, nuts, fruits, wood products, etc. This intentional combination of forestry and agriculture has multiple benefits from increased biodiversity to reduced erosion and improved soil structure and health. These types of agroforestry practices are very much beneficial in the tropics, and places of Europe and the United States.
What Is Agroforestry?
In simple words, agroforestry can be defined as agriculture with trees. It is basically the interaction of trees with agriculture including all sorts of agricultural uses of trees. This in general comprises of trees on farms or even landscapes. The interaction between the different components of agriculture and trees might be of great importance at a range of scales such as in the farms where trees provide fodder for fuel, livestock, shelter, food, or income from products like timber, in fields where crops and trees are grown together, in landscapes where forests and agricultural lands are used in combination.
In general, agroforestry involves a wide variety of trees that are regenerated, protected, planted, or managed in agricultural landscapes while interacting with wildlife, annual crops, livestock, and humans. Here are a few ways in which it can help in balancing our needs.
- Producing trees for wood and for other commercial purposes.
- Help in ensuring the protection of natural environments such that it can continue to provide environmental services and resources in order to meet the current and the future generation.
- It can further help in producing a diverse and adequate supply of nutritious food in order to meet the global demand and satisfy the overall need of the producer.
Benefits Of Trees In Agroforestry
Trees have always been playing a very important role in all types of terrestrial ecosystem and it has been providing different types of important services and products to both urban and rural communities. Most of the trees have different uses, including all the cultural benefits and it typically ranges over a range of uses. Furthermore, the agroforestry system is also used as land boundary markers in order to confer land use rights. They are indeed fundamental for the overall improvement of soil health and for land regeneration. Here is a list of some of the other benefits of the trees in the agroforestry system.
- Help in bringing up nutrients and water from deep underground.
- Help in creating and regulating microclimates.
- Help in eliminating carbon from the atmosphere.
- Build soil carbon and soil organic matter.
- Help in providing a framework for both below and above ground diversity to flourish.
- Help in innovating diversified farm enterprises.
- Provide shelter and fodder for all livestock.
- Record all the changes in climate.
- Help in making agricultural landscapes more and more resilient.
Remember the agroforestry system helps in representing a commitment in order to bring the sustainable principles especially that of the agricultural production. As we all know that the trees are a fundamental part of the ecosystem, therefore its integration in farming practices should never come as a surprise.