Traditional Agroforestry Systems in Greece



Vasilios Papanastasis et al. have summarized the situation of agroforestry systems in Greece in the Springer book "Agroforestry in Europe".

Agroforestry systems are a traditional land use practice in Greece. They are widely distributed all over the country and constitute important elements of the rural landscape. They include all three types of systems: silvoarable involving trees and crops grown on arable land, silvopastoral involving trees and pasture/animals grown on forest and arable land and agrosilvopastoral involving trees, crops and grazing animals grown on arable land. Trees may be forest species or cultivated trees grown for fruits, naturally regenerating or planted, evergreen or deciduous; crops may be annual or perennial species; and animals may be sheep, goats, cattle, pigs or chicken. The area covered by these systems is estimated to be more than 3 million hectares or 23% of the whole country. All types of systems deliver a great variety of goods and services and constitute a cultural heritage while the role of trees is crucial in sustaining production and improving the environment in rural areas. Despite their great economic, ecological and cultural importance however traditional agroforestry systems have been degraded over the last few decades due to extensification/intensification processes imposed by socio-economic changes. In this paper, after describing the most prominent traditional agroforestry systems and analysing their economic, ecological and cultural roles, their recent evolution is discussed and recommendations are made for their inventory, conservation and sustainable management.