Monday, 1 August 2011

Assessing Agroforestry's Advantages

Scientists in Wisconsin studying agroforestry have found that the use of trees in livestock and crop farming systems can help capture substantial amounts of carbon on agricultural land while providing production and conservation benefits. Questions exist, however, over exactly how much carbon such systems sequester.

Windbreaks in North America only occupy around 2% - 5% of farmland yet capture carbon as the trees develop. They also help protect crops and livestock, and reduce soil erosion.

Unlike forests, the linear design of windbreaks creates a more open environment with different light and climate conditions. Researchers have developed a model specifically designed to determine current or future amounts of carbon contained in agroforestry practices such as windbreak trees, and the model provides a good basis for determining agroforestry’s contributions in farming operations. Read the full report here.