Agroforestry takes root in Northern Ireland

Date published: 20 August 2019

Area of Expertise:

AFBI and CAFRE will be hosting an agroforestry training event on 5th September 2019 in AFBI Loughgall, Co. Armagh.

Silvopastoral at AFBI Loughgall

The event will provide farmers and agroforestry practitioners with the opportunity to learn more about the practicalities as well as the socio-economic and environmental benefits of adopting agroforestry systems as an option under the new Environmental Farming Scheme (EFS).

Agroforestry includes both the integration of trees on farmland and the use of agricultural crops and livestock in woodlands to deliver a wide range of ecosystem services.

Agroforestry research has been conducted at AFBI Loughgall since 1989 which has successfully led to agroforestry being incorporated into NI policy as a sustainable land use option. Agroforestry has also been recommended by the Sustainable Agricultural Land Management Strategy (SALMS) Expert Working Group to aid in the delivery of key grassland sustainability challenges, including the mitigation of agricultural ammonia emissions.

Silvoarable at AFBI Loughgall
Silvoarable at AFBI Loughgall
Northern Ireland has a long-term target of increasing woodland cover from current levels of 8% to 12% by 2050. To date the predominant objective of planting trees on farm land has been timber production, but establishing trees can provide many additional ecosystem benefits for agricultural production.

The EFS facilitates agroforestry contributing to both NI’s woodland creation target and increasing the sustainability, socio-economic and environmental resilience of NI livestock farms.

Since 2017, agroforestry has been an option under the Environmental Farming Scheme (EFS) and provides an opportunity to introduce agroforestry systems on-farm, whilst continuing to use the land for agricultural purposes. In addition to delivering food and timber, planting trees on-farm also offers diverse ecosystem services benefits including, but not limited to, enhanced biodiversity, offsetting of gaseous emissions, increased carbon sequestration, improved water quality and tolerance to flooding, increased resilience to climate change and an extended grazing season due to changes in soil permeability and soil drainage.

So don’t miss this important event on 5th September 2019 in AFBI Loughgall, Co. Armagh where you will view agroforestry in practice and be able to engage with both AFBI scientists and CAFRE advisors to answer your questions.

For further scientific information on Agroforestry Research contact Dr Rodrigo Olave, Email:

Notes to editors: 

AFBI carries out high quality technology research and development, statutory, analytical, and diagnostic testing functions for DAERA and other Government departments, public bodies and commercial companies.

AFBI's Vision  is “Advancing the Local and Global Agri-Food Sectors Through Scientific Excellence”.

AFBI's core areas:
- Leading improvements in the agri food industry;
- Protecting animal, plant and human health;
- Enhancing the natural and marine environment.

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