In Northern Ireland tree cover (8%) is lowest in the EU and there is a need to develop land use systems which can integrate the objectives of increasing tree planting on farms while maintaining grassland and cropland productivity. In agroforestry, trees are integrated into farming systems to increase production, social, economical and environmental benefits for land users and the delivery of a wide range of ecosystem services.
Currently, AFBI scientists are participating in a four year EU research programme AGFORWARD (Agroforestry that Will Advance Rural Development). The overall goal of the project is to promote agroforestry practices in Europe that will advance sustainable rural development, i.e. improved competitiveness, and social and environmental enhancement. AFBI participates in work packages to research and promote grazing in orchards and to deliver the message of Agroforestry to grass farmers.
2014 - 2020 RDP adoption
In 2014, Agroforestry was finally adopted as an option within the NI Rural Development Programme 2014-2020. This was based on the outcomes, management prescriptions and successes of the AFBI Loughgall programme. In Ireland, there is an option to support an agroforestry initiative in the current RDP (2014-2020). The rationale and management prescriptions within this are also based on the NI experience at Loughgall.
- Sibbald A.R., Eason W.R., McAdam J.H., Hislop A.M. (2001) The establishment phase of a silvopastoral national network experiment in the UK. Agroforest Syst 53(1):39–53
- McAdam J., McEvoy P.M. (2009) The potential for silvopastoralism to enhance biodiversity on grassland farms in Ireland. In: Rigueiro-Rodríguez A, McAdam J, Mosquera-Losada MR (eds) Agroforestry in Europe: current status and future prospects. Springer. pp 343–358
- Mosquera-Losada M.R., Moreno G., Pardini A., McAdam J.H. et al (2012) Past, Present and Future of Agroforestry Systems in Europe In PKR Nair and D Garrity (eds.), Agroforestry - The Future of Global Land Use, Advances in Agroforestry 9; 285-312