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Workshop 3.2

Agroforestry research and practice in Europe


Dirk Freese, Department of Soil Protection and Recultivation / Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus / Germany
Pierluigi Paris, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche / Istituto di Biologia Agroambientale e Forestale / Italy
M. R. Mosquera-Losada, Department of Crop Production / Universidade de Santiago de Compostela / Spain
Paul Burgess, Department of Environmental Science and Technology / Cranfield University / United Kingdom

If you have any questions regarding this workshop, please turn directly to the convenors by sending an email.


Due to beneficial interactions between the different components of agroforestry systems (trees, crops, and/or animals), these land use systems provide economical and ecological advantages compared to conventional agricultural systems. The aim of this workshop is to provide a platform for the presentation and discussion of current scientific research outcomes and of actual developments in the field of agroforestry.


The excessive consumption of fossil energy resources, land use, and land use change have led to a steadily increase of atmospheric CO2 concentrations over the last centuries. This increase is considered to be the major cause of global warming – a process expected to cause severe changes in physical and biological systems, economies and societies worldwide. At the same time the pressure on land increases due to a growing human population in combination with increasing costs for fossil energy. By this development ecological functions of agro-ecosystems including soil and water resources are increasingly affected. Innovative solutions are required that help to mitigate global warming, allow adaptation of agricultural land-use systems to changing climatic conditions, and ensure a sustainable production of crops and energy resources. The combination of trees and / or animals with crops in agroforestry systems is considered to be a promising land use strategy for Europe as these systems can be managed in a sustainable way, have a lower impact on the environment than conventional agricultural systems, and combine a high potential of carbon sequestration with the production of food or renewable resources such as bioenergy carriers (woody biomass or other energy crops). Agroforestry systems are known to improve the efficiency of utilization of resources (light, water, nutrients) and thus often lead to an overall higher biomass production. Simultaneously, soil erosion and nitrate leaching are reduced and landscape biodiversity is increased. In marginal regions and on degraded lands, agroforestry constitutes an alternative to land abandonment and/or to deliberate afforestation, leads to diversification of land use and offers new income possibilities to the farmers. Because environmental externalities and renewable energies are foreseeable becoming key elements of the reformed Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) of the EU, agroforestry as a productive, sustainably usable, and ecologically beneficial land use system, is increasingly attracting attention within the efforts of “greening” the agricultural production. Furthermore, the production of woody biomass with tree-based land use systems, even on marginal sites, may turn out to be an alternative for the current approach of bioenergy production, which is based on monoculture annual bioenergy crops, such as maize, in strong competition with food crops for land use, and highly demanding for soil nutrients and pesticides, as well for irrigation in southern areas. This workshop aims to bundle presentations on current developments in the field of agroforestry research and attempts to develop an outlook on future developments, opportunities and challenges in this comprehensive field.

Workshop process

15 minutes talk + 5 minutes discussion, short abstract (max. 150 words) for application, extended abstract of 2–4 pages for publication in the book of abstracts.

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