Modern agroforestry systems have the potential to combine productive agriculture with increased environmental benefits. Because these systems have only recently been tested by a few farmers in Switzerland, there is hardly any data available on the environmental impacts of modern agroforestry systems. In this study, we examined the changes in soil organic matter (SOM) stocks in a seven-year old agroforestry system in central Switzerland. Our results show that after just seven years, a substantial accumulation of SOM (+18 %) can be observed in the tree row compared to in the cultivated land. Surprisingly, the accumulation of SOM was not restricted to the topsoil, but was also detected up to a soil depth of 60 cm. An initial estimate of the annual SOM accumulation in the agroforestry plot investigated stands at 0,86 t of carbon per hectare and year and 91 kg nitrogen per hectare and year for a soil depth of 0–60 cm. The magnitude of this initial estimate shows that further research into the SOM dynamics of agroforestry systems is of great importance from the perspective of soil, climate and water protection.
Grass-based beef production is markedly less productive than intensive year-round indoor-housing system-based production. Agroscope experts therefore studied how grass-based farms can produce both economically and in an ecologically sound manner.
Orchard crop spraying using unmanned aerial spraying systems commonly referred to as drones can lead to drift, posing a risk to residents and bystanders. The study shows that the risks arising from this are taken into account by the current registration process.
Trials conducted by FiBL have shown that conversion to organic farming also promotes endangered Red List species such as the carabid beetle species Amara tricuspidata. This species and other species consume seeds of forbs and grasses and thus supports natural weed control.