Protecting resources with agroforestry systems: regionally adapted solutions

The Swiss Federal Government’s agricultural policy aims inter alia to provide agricultural ecosystem services, reduce environmental impacts, and increase the resilience of the agricultural sector. Combining the cultivation of trees with crops or grass – termed «agroforestry » – can contribute to achieving these goals without substantially limiting agricultural production. We identified the regions where environmental pressures (as defined by the Agricultural Environmental Objectives) occur, and where agroforestry systems can contribute to reducing these impacts. Our results are based on eleven national deficit maps for the environmental sectors of biodiversity, landscape, climate, air, water and soil, according to which three or more deficits occur simultaneously on 13.3 % of the utilised agricultural area (UAA). Converting these 13.3 % of UAA into agroforestry systems such as e.g. rows of trees in arable fields , short rotation trees and shade trees for animals, could offset up to 13 % of the agricultural sector‘s greenhouse-gas emissions. The use of these maps and the major potential offered by agroforestry systems will enable to develop strategies geared to local conditions and to environmental targets.

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