Agroforestry is a collective name for land-use systems and technologies where woody perennials (trees, shrubs, palms, bamboos, etc.) are deliberately used on the same land management unit as agricultural crops and/or animals, either on the same form of spatial arrangement or temporal sequence. In agroforestry systems there are both ecological and economical interactions between the different components [zotpressInText item=”{76N3EZR4}” format=”(%num%)”]. It is a dynamic, ecologically based, natural resource management system that, through the integration of trees in farm and rangeland, diversifies and sustains smallholder production for increased social, economic and environmental benefits [zotpressInText item=”{ARQQH5UT}” format=”(%num%)”].


  • enables farmers to work on one piece of land without the need of further burning and deforestation
  • helps to alleviate poverty through higher production of wood and other non-timber products for subsistence and marketing
  • regenerates soil fertility and protects biodiversity
  • purifies water by decreasing nutrients run off and soil erosion
  • helps to mitigate global warming and hunger by using drought resistant trees and producing fruit, nuts and edible oils
  • decreases deforestation and pressure on forests by producing timber and fuel wood
  • lowers or eliminates the need to use toxic agrochemicals (pesticides, herbicides, etc.)
  • improves human diet by producing diverse crops
  • provides medicinal plants in situations of limited access to common medicaments

Agroforestry also helps to fulfil a number of other environmental aims, such as:

  • carbon sequestration
  • reduction of dust, smell and noise
  • visual function and aesthetics
  • protection of/habitat for wild fauna

Agroforestry is one of the three main land-use sciences (besides agriculture and forestry).




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Recommended reading
Nair, P.K.R., 1993. An introduction to agroforestry. Springer Science & Business Media.
Nair, P.K.R. (series Ed.). Advances in Agroforestry Series,
Schroth, G., Sinclair, F.L., 2003. Trees, crops, and soil fertility: concepts and research methods. CABI Publishing, Wallingford, UK.
Schroth, G., 2004. Agroforestry and biodiversity conservation in tropical landscapes. Island Press, UK.
Leakey, R.R., Weber, J.C., Page, T., Cornelius, J.P., Akinnifesi, F.K., Roshetko, J.M., Tchoundjeu, Z., Jamnadass, R., 2012. Tree domestication in agroforestry: progress in the second decade (2003–2012), in: Agroforestry – The Future of Global Land Use, Advances in Agroforestry. Springer, pp. 145–173.

Authors of the text: Jiří Lipenský, Ludvík Bortl, Marie Kalousová, Alexandr Rollo, and Hana Vebrová.
Authors of the pictures: Jiří Lipenský (JL), Ludvík Bortl (LB), Lukáš Huml (LH) Alexandr Rollo (AR), Pavel Borecký (PB), and  Wilson Saldaña (WS).

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