Planting more trees in the landscape is a spreading strategy to provide multiple ecosystem services in human-dominated environments. Scientists Kuyah et al. recently found in sub-Saharan Africa that agroforestry practices increase provisioning services such as crop yield while maintaining the delivery of regulating and maintenance services such as soil fertility, erosion or water regulation. They reckoned that selecting appropriate agroforestry practices and a suitable management of tree canopies can minimize trade-offs resulting from competition and shading.
Data is lacking on vulnerability and resilience of different agroforestry systems to climate change. Scientists Gnonlonfoun et al. documented these scientific gaps in West Africa through farmers’ perception. They identified several factors contributing to the resilience of ecological systems. Their knowledge is the first step for designing adaptation strategies in cooperation with local actors.
There is a general lack of tree planting in agricultural landscapes, although it improves environmental and economic performances of farms. Scientists Fleming et al. found three groups of values driving perceptions and behaviors relating to agroforestry. They reckon that farmer could increase tree planting via government incentives, mentoring, networks and support, especially when it is designed to match farmers objectives.
Tropical forests are dramatically decreasing. Management practices have also intensified, thus threatening biodiversity. A potential solution is agroforestry, that is the cultivation of shade trees within crops. Scientists Armengot et al. compared agroforestry and classical monoculture. They found that cacao yields were, on average, 41% higher in monocultures, but the revenues derived from agroforestry by-crops economically overcompensated for this difference.
Coffee planters use diverse strategies to enhance coffee production, such as pruning, fertilising, removing weeds, applying lime to adjust the soil pH, irrigating coffee trees to trigger timely flowering, and removing shade trees that shade coffee plants. Agronomists Boreux et al. studied the factors of coffee production in the agroforestry system of Kodagu, India.
Agroforestry is a land use management system in which trees are grown around or among crops or pastureland. The presence of trees brings many benefits such as higher biodiversity, restoring soil fertility, cleaner water through reduced soil and fertiliser runoff and increased crop stability. A study of Nasielski et al. on soybean agroforestry suggests that yields in the tree-crop competitive zone will not be reduced under drier climate.
Conventional monoculture systems are failing in the long run because they have been designed solely for higher yields and economic benefits, thus neglecting pollution, biodiversity loss and non-traded social benefits. Agroforestry appears as a solution. However, farmers are often reluctant to adopt tree-based systems despite incentives to do so. To understand why, Sereke et al. have studied agroforestry in Switzerland using collaborative research and bioeconomic assessment of farmer agroforestry innovations.
Agroforestry is the growing of crops and trees together. Mutual benefits of crops and trees can increase crop yields and food security. Agroforestry is also a solution for climate change because agroforestry stores more carbon into the soil, and, in turn, decrease atmospheric CO2, a greenhouse gas. The review article by Lorenz and Lal analyses the actual knowledge on the potential of agroforestry to store carbon in soils
Expansion of agricultural land use has increased emission of greenhouse gases, exacerbating climatic changes. Most agricultural soils have lost a large portion of their organic carbon, becoming a source of atmospheric CO2. In addition, agricultural soils can also be a major source of nitrous oxide and methane greenhouse gases. Stavi and Lal show that agroforestry and soil application of biochar can efficiently sequester large amounts of carbon over the long-run. In addition, these practices also increase agronomic productivity and support a range of ecosystem services. Payments to farmers and land managers for sequestrating carbon and improving ecosystem services is an important strategy for promoting the adoption of such practices.