The Azimuth Project



As defined on Wikipedia:

Agroforestry is a collective name for land use systems and practices in which woody perennials are deliberately integrated with crops and/or animals on the same land management unit. The integration can be either in a spatial mixture or in a temporal sequence. There are normally both ecological and economic interactions between woody and non-woody components in agroforestry.

In agroforestry systems, trees or shrubs are intentionally used within agricultural systems, or non-timber forest products are cultured in forest settings. Knowledge, careful selection of species and good management of trees and crops are needed to optimize the production and positive effects within the system and to minimize negative competitive effects.

In some areas, a narrow definition of agroforestry might simply be “trees on farms.” Hence, agroforestry, farm forestry and family forestry can be broadly understood as the commitment of farmers, alone or in partnerships, towards the establishment and management of forests on their land. Where many landholders are involved the result is a diversity of activity that reflects the diversity of aspirations and interests within the community.


Abstract: Earlier chapters have considered both the economic and environmental benefits and costs of agroforestry. The market provides a ready-made mechanism for capturing the available economic benefits, but without additional interventions from governments, the community may miss out on a range of potential environmental benefits from agroforestry. Reasons for this include that some of the environmental benefits are relatively intangible and not able to be marketed. In addition, resource managers making decisions about agroforestry are unlikely to fully consider the range of environmental benefits accruing to others in the community, since many of those benefits are not experienced or captured by the resource managers.

This chapter focuses on the government’s use of policy mechanisms to ensure that environmental benefits are not neglected. This is not to say that environmental benefits would take precedence over economic benefits, but rather that benefits and costs in both categories would be considered and weighed up. We will discuss the circumstances in which government intervention to enhance environmental outcomes from agroforestry would and would not be appropriate. The mere existence of an environmental benefit is not sufficient, as we will see. A wide variety of policy approaches and mechanisms is available. These are briefly described, and some of their pros and cons are discussed. Finally we consider the vexed question of who should pay for the public environmental benefits generated on private land.

category: ecology