Trees in the farm: carbon sequestration in agroforestry

By | July 11, 2022

Farming leverages the land’southward potential to produce crops for people’s needs. So it may not come as a surprise that integrating varieties of not just plants, simply also of trees or shrubs, can shape productive farms over time.

This is
agroforestry. Information technology is an approach to state management that has trees and shrubs thriving aslope crops and livestock within ane organization. Agroforestry is known to expand the functions and benefits of farmlands for farmers and nature. But despite being one of the nigh traditional land management strategies, at that place are nevertheless many barriers to reaching its full potential for modernistic farms.

Detect what agroforestry is, its types, its many benefits, the potentials for carbon sequestration in agroforestry, and what you need to consider to go started.

What is agroforestry?

Just, agroforestry is agriculture with trees. In a traditional farming landscape, whether crops or livestock (or both),
copse or shrubs are incorporated purposefully
to make up an agroforestry system.

Traditional societies have been known to use the country this way to yield abundant varieties of harvests both from crops and trees. In contempo times, agroforestry is seen as a more
sustainable approach to managing lands
by balancing an ecosystem where trees, plants, and animals be side-past-side co-beneficially within an area, similar to what can be observed in natural landscapes.

While at that place is a general distinction betwixt forests and farmlands, agroforestry makes utilize of both elements in
a product arrangement
where trees are arranged between crops or around the farm’due south perimeter, depending on how the agroforestry system is designed.

What are the types of agroforestry?

There are many examples of agroforestry that accommodate item needs and requirements of each state managing director. In Europe, there are
five distinct types
of agroforestry systems, where the forestry elements of the farm are arranged a certain way for specific goals and purposes.

  • Silvoarable agroforestry: the trees and crops are integrated into an agricultural land
  • Silvopastoral agroforestry: the integration of copse within a grazing organisation for livestock
  • Hedgerows,
    shelterbelts, and
    riparian buffer strips: Trees or shrubs are planted around agricultural country to form a protective barrier or to marking territory. Riparian buffer strips mean planting trees or shrubs around nearby bodies of water like ponds, ditches, or streams.
  • Forest farming: crop cultivation within a forest landscape
  • Homegardens: combinations of copse and food production close to homes.
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The first three types are common among cropland farmers. And even more comprehensively, an agroforestry system can too be designed where crops, livestock, and copse are incorporated. This blazon is known as
agrosilvopastoral agroforestry.

carbon sequestration in agroforestry with livestock

What are the benefits of agroforestry?

careful planning and design, farmers tin reap an array of benefits related to soil and environment, income and productivity, as well as climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Unlike plants and trees have different requirements. And in whatsoever given area where resources are shared, agroforestry systems can promote
mutually beneficial effects
to dissimilar life living off the land — while farmers gain new income streams.

Here are v reasons why your farm can do good from agroforestry.


Introducing complementary plant and tree species assist make the all-time utilize of resources in a farm. Some crops perform better with the right amount of sun exposure which can exist regulated with the shade provided past trees. Similarly, trees can serve equally windbreaks that protect crops from winds that damage plants. The same copse also act equally shelter for minor animals similar birds and insects that can provide a
wider ecosystem value
to the environment.

At that place are many incidences where mono-cropping increases the incidence of pests and diseases spread on a farm. By introducing some other vegetation blazon, pests and diseases, and therefore, the use of pesticides and other
chemicals tin be minimised.

Soil health

Well-planned agroforestry plots tin can appropriately provide for the varying requirements of crops and trees without harmful competition between species. For example, deeper rooting perennial trees tin can brand use of nutrients and h2o below where crops take root. Each interacts with the soil depth according to their growth requirements.

The presence of roots in different soil levels can also improve water retention, decrease soil erosion, and overall better
soil fertility
by trapping nutrient-building soil organic matter.


I thing to remember almost agroforestry systems is that crops and trees are planted so that they can
do good each other
in consideration of a farm’s unique status. Have, for example, leguminous trees can help fix nitrogen in the soil which is beneficial for the plants.

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soil health enriches the land over time
and trees regulate the productivity of lands by cycling nutrients and resources sustainably.

And instead of producing a unmarried crop on a farm, trees tin be planted to produce other varieties of nutrient. Autonomously from food production, trees can be planted for fuel (firewood), provender, fibre, and medicine. Now a subcontract produces a
variety of raw products
with multiple uses.


A good mix of trees and plants in a mural helps maintain soil stability that can improve withstand extreme weather events and climate change that puts an entire farming functioning at risk. With the incidence of droughts and heavy rainfall getting more frequent and intense, a
highly resilient farm
will be improve prepared for many climate uncertainties ahead. Similarly, carbon sequestration in agroforestry maximises the capacity of landscapes to store and maintain carbon for the long term.

Diversified income

Growing trees that bear fruits or nuts are wonderful additions to introduce
new income streams
beyond the principal crop of the farm. Other parts of certain trees can be harvested for the production of other resources used for making medicine, forage, or other raw materials.

ecology benefits
of trees in cropland tin come across the reduction of chemical inputs, reducing operational costs.

Carbon programs in farming can too reward farmers with acquirement when there is a measured increase in carbon stocks in the field stored in the soil and tree biomass.

→ Consult our expert agronomists to know how you can leverage agroforestry in carbon farming.

A great potential for carbon sequestration in agroforestry

Agroforestry is a carbon farming strategy to assistance command the amount of greenhouse gas that accumulates in the temper. Croplands tin can shop carbon in the soil merely some CO2 goes back into the atmosphere when plants are cultivated and harvested each flavor. Trees on the other mitt store carbon in the trunks and roots (biomass). Tree biomass are reservoirs of carbon that can limit the amount of emissions cropland tillage emits.

The potential to sequester carbon in agricultural lands tin can increment when trees are also present in the field. One written report estimates that the potential for carbon sequestration in agroforestry from arable lands in Europe tin go up to seven.29 t C ha−1
a−1. Maximising the carbon farming potential of agroforestry can advantage farmers with genuine carbon credits sold to organisations looking to get-go their emissions.

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Is agroforestry right for your farm?

carbon sequestration in agroforestry

Creating a successful agroforestry landscape takes noesis of plants and copse, and a skillful understanding of your farm conditions. Prior
planning and proper implementation
are crucial to make the most of your land. And because copse grow at a different pace than crops, payoffs can also have longer.

Nevertheless, a sustainable land direction arrangement like agroforestry is designed with longevity in mind. Its benefits for the environment, productivity, and income are designed to accrue over time.

Engaging in carbon programs that advantage farmers for successful carbon sequestration in agroforestry should be considered early to help make the most of an agroforestry landscape.

Curious how you can earn income from carbon sequestration in your farm?

Larn About CARBON Programme


  • Burgess, P., Newman, S., Pagella, T., Smith, J., Westway, Due south., Briggs, S., Knight, I., Whistance, 50. (2019). The Agroforestry Handbook. Agroforestry for the UK. 1st Edition (July 2019). Soil Association Limited,
  • Kay, Southward., Rega, C., Moreno, G., den Herder, M., Palma, J., Borek, R., Crous-Duran, J., Freese, D., Giannitsopoulos, M., Graves, A., Jäger, Chiliad., Lamersdorf, N., Memedemin, D., Mosquera-Losada, R., Pantera, A., Paracchini, Grand.L., Paris, P., Roces-Díaz, J., Rolo, Five., Rosati, A., Sandor, M., Smith, J., Szerencsits, E., Varga, A., Viaud, V., Wawer, R., Burgess, P., Herzog, F. Agroforestry creates carbon sinks whilst enhancing the environment in agricultural landscapes in Europe, Land Apply Policy, Volume 83, 2019, pp 581-593, ISSN 0264-8377,
  • Aertsens, J., De Nocker, Fifty., Gobin, A. Valuing the carbon sequestration potential for European agriculture, Land Employ Policy, Book 31, 2013, pp. 584-594, ISSN 0264-8377,
  • Bertsch-Hoermann, B., Egger, C., Gaube, al. (2021). Agroforestry trade-offs between biomass provision and aboveground carbon sequestration in the alpine Eisenwurzen region, Austria.Reg Environ Change21,77.