Research Station Agroscope Reckenholz-Tänikon ART, CH-8046 Zurich

Innovative agroforestry systems – on-farm monitoring of opportunities and limitations

Agriculture will undergo ecological intensification. Agroforestry systems which combine woody plants with arable crops and/or grassland provide ecological as well as economic benefits. One the one hand, agroforestry systems are characterised by higher overall productivity. On the other, they are expected to provide improved resource conservation and contribute to enhanced biodiversity. Whether this potential can be effectively realised and whether or not it is offset by possible drawbacks such as more complicated farm management, long term tying-up of land etc. can only be tested using empirical data. For this purpose, a monitoring tool was developed containing indicators relating to productivity, labour costs, economic viability, management strategies, environmental factors and the perception of those working the land. An initial survey was conducted on existing plots of land belonging to three farms and will be repeated annually in future. This basic programme (minimal outlay) can be supplemented by process studies on a case-by-case basis.

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