Benefits of agroforestry
Why care about agroforestry?
Integrating trees on farms can bring multiple benefits for business and the wider environment – whether it be shelter for livestock, habitat for wildlife or helping to reduce a farm’s carbon footprint.
The key to this is the right tree in the right place for the right reason.
Financial benefits of agroforestry
Agroforestry offers multiple financial benefits to farmers. Planting trees can add an extra crop such as fruit, nuts or timber, which can provide an additional income stream and a fall-back in case of poor harvests.
A tree crop can also support farm businesses to operate throughout the year, avoiding the peaks and troughs of seasonal demands.
Why plant trees on farms?
Iain and Marion Macdonald of Ardoch and Threepland farms, East Renfrewshire, say they have turned their livestock farm around by planting acres of hard-to-farm land with trees.
Integrating farming and forestry
In Broughton in the Borders, award-winning farmer Peter Gascoigne has transformed his farm business using trees. He says the trees provide tax-free income for his family, enhance his farm business and give him the pleasure of seeing more wildlife.
Environmental benefits of agroforestry
Agroforestry is a vital, viable way farmers can help restore climate and nature, from the ground up - trees have benefits for wildlife, for carbon capture, and for soil.
Riparian tree planting
On the Rottal Estate in Angus, landowner Dee Ward’s work with nature is transforming the landscape. He shares how riparian tree planting (planting by water) has created shelter for the sheep grazing in the fields below, and helped mitigate climate change
MAKING WOODLAND WORK ON THE FARM
Since moving to Crannich Farm, Isle of Mull in 2003, Robin and Sam Sedgwick have planted thousands of trees – with plans to plant thousands more.
Agroforestry and crofting
Phil Knott and his partner Laura Cunningham of Wildlife Croft on Skye have planted trees strategically, to shelter their fruit bushes and trees and to enhance biodiversity and soil health. They aim to eventually producing organic food to sell.
Case Study: Scottish apples
Catherine Drummond-Herdman rediscovered and revitalised a 300 year old orchard at Megginch Castle in Perthshire, and is part of a movement to get a Scottish commercial apple sector going again.
Animal husbandry benefits of agroforestry
In a silvopastoral system - keeping trees and livestock together - the livestock help cycle the nutrients, and the forestry brings shelter, shade and variety to their diets.
Learn more about agroforestry
Here are some additional links to resources on the benefits of agroforestry:
- Agroforestry– what are the benefits? (Soil Association)
- Agroforestry: a new approach to increasing farming production (Nuffield Report: Stephen Briggs)
- Benefits of trees on livestock farms (Woodland Trust)
- Benefits of Trees on Arable Farms (Woodland Trust)