Factsheets

  • AGFORWARD

Why plant fruit trees?

There are various reasons why farmers in Switzerland have increasingly combined fruit trees with crops in recent years. One important motivation is to reduce soilverosion, and other benefits include thevreduction of nitrate leaching, and increased carbon sequestration and biodiversity.

DE • EN • FL • FR • HU • IT • PL • PT • SP • GR

  • AGFORWARD

How can trees maintain crop yields?

Climate change scenarios predict fewer but more intense rain events. Dry spring and summer weather reduces crop yields. Water loss from the crop is controlled by solar radiation, air temperature, wind speed and humidity.

DE • EN • FL • FR • HU • IT • PL • PT • SP • GR

  • AGFORWARD

Why manage the understorey?

In many agroforestry systems, the area between the trees and under the tree canopy is an overlooked and underutilised space. Unmanaged, this can create problems with weed control. This space can be put to productive use through planting crops that are adapted to shady conditions. In addition, when managed correctly, the tree understorey can be a resource for biodiversity, providing a habitat for beneficial insects and a food resource for crop pollinators.

DE • EN • FL • FR • HU • IT • PL • PT • SP • GR

  • AGFORWARD

The tree problem

From the emergence of Homo sapiens until the last 200-300 years, trees have been the major source of energy (and other materials and food). Even 20,000 years ago, the ratio of trees to humans was about 1.5 million to one, but it has now fallen drastically to about 400 to one (and is still falling). To save the planet, and humanity, we need food and energy systems that are efficient in terms of supplying both of those outputs while improving the quality and sustainability of the biosphere. This could best be done by reversing this declining ratio of trees to humans.

DE • EN • FL • FR • HU • IT • PL • PT • SP • GR

  • AGFORWARD

How to optimize maize growth under cherry trees

Agroforestry is a traditional land use system in Voio, north-western Greece, in which farmers integrate agricultural production with high value tree species on the same area of land. This integrated approach ensures a steady economic return each year irrespective of weather conditions.

DE • EN • FL • FR • HU • IT • PL • PT • SP • GR

  • AGFORWARD

Why plant poplars?

The Padana Plain in Italy is characterised by intensive agriculture. Cereals are the most common crop, and hybrid poplar (Populus x euroamericana) is the most common cultivated tree species for timber production. Intercropping poplar trees with arable crops is now recognized as a modern form of Smart Agriculture, due to the efficient use of site resources (light, nutrients and water) by canopies and root distribution.

DE • EN • FL • FR • HU • IT • PL • PT • SP • GR

  • AGFORWARD

Managing non-crop vegetation within the field

If trees and crops are the productive components of the agroforestry alley cropping systems, a third component must be considered: the non-crop vegetation at the tree strip.

DE • EN • FL • FR • HU • IT • PL • PT • SP • GR

  • AGFORWARD

Why an associated crop?

Olives and olive oil are central in the healthy Mediterranean diet, and there is an increase demand for olive products coming from sustainable and organic farming.

DE • EN • FL • FR • HU • IT • PL • PT • SP • GR

  • AGFORWARD

Why combine Melissa officinalis L. with cherry trees?

Melissa officinalis L. (commonly known as lemon balm in English) is used to supply rosmarinic acid to the pharmaceutical sector. Melissa officinalis L., like many medicinal plants, is well adapted to partial shading. Cherry trees are a high value timber tree with good economic return. They generate little shade compared with other trees.

DE • EN • FL • FR • HU • IT • PL • PT • SP • GR