By Patricia Bianca S. Taculao
Agroforestry, as defined by the International Council for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF), is a system that makes the most out of land because trees, livestock, crops, and other natural resources are cultivated alongside each other on a single plot.
Presently, there are around 10 types of agroforestry systems. The three most common are the following:
- Agrisilviculture – trees and agricultural crops are managed together in the farmland. This system has the potential to address food shortage, provide other benefits such as conserve soil moisture contents, and even mitigate harsh climate conditions.
- Silvipastoral – this agroforestry system of land management grows improved pasture species along with trees. There are two subtypes under silvipastoral. One has control grazing for its livestock while the other completely prohibits animals from doing so.
- Agrisilvipastoral – this system pertains to a mix of the first two agroforestry systems mentioned. Agrisilvipastoral promotes the growth and management of trees and agricultural and forest crops, along with farm animals, in the same unit of land.
Aside from being an integrated way to make the most out of a farmland or forest, the practice also increases the amount of nutrients in the soil, protects crops from detrimental effects of harsh winds, and provides fruit, animal feed, timber, fuel, and more.
By promoting the growth of crops alongside or within forests, agroforestry can help farmers with sustainability and even get more even from a small space of land.