Agroforestry

Scale level :
Definition :

Strictly speaking, agroforestry is a practice where crops are associated with trees planted in the same plot (see JORF). But agroforestry also applies to other agricultural products, such as livestock, and to trees on the edge of plots (see FAO and EURAF), or on larger scales than the plot (farm, territory) (see ICRAF). Thus, in a broad sense, agroforestry encompasses production systems that integrate trees into agricultural practices or areas as well as agricultural productions into forestry practices and treed areas.

There is a great diversity of agroforestry systems. Indeed, the combinations are numerous between agricultural practices, practices on trees, scales considered. Of all combinations, tree-crop associations are most often simultaneous. This is the case for silvoarable plot (arable crops with poplar or walnut trees), silvopastoral surfaces (meadow orchards, grazed forests), multistory crops, agricultural plots bordered on lines of trees, hedgerows or riparian forests , bocages… However, it can also be associations over time with agricultural production and woody vegetation which succeed one another (slash-and-burn crops, short rotation coppices).

Agroforestry diversifies production (crop and/or livestock products and tree products such as wood, fruit, foliage) and produces synergies (shading, manure, windbreaks, etc.) which improve these productions. It requires technical skills in order to, on the one hand, favour these synergies and, on the other hand, to avoid or limit certain prejudices (competition between crops and trees for light or water, constraints on mechanization because of trees, damage of the livestock on the trees…) that could reduce the benefits sought. By promoting fixed landscape features and biodiversity, agroforestry supports ecological processes that benefit agriculture. As such, it is a recognized lever to develop agroecology (see MAAF and CGAAER).

Published on 12 April 2017
Bibliographic references :

Association Française des Arbres Champêtres et Agroforesteries. Site web consulté le 12 avril 2017.

Association Française d’Agroforesterie (AFAF). Site web consulté le 12 avril 2017.

Centre international pour la recherche en agroforesterie (ICRAF). Site web consulté le 12 avril 2017.

European Agroforestry Federation (EURAF). Site web consulté le 12 avril 2017.

Journal Officiel de la République Française (JORF). 2015. Définition d’Agroforesterie. JORF n°0190 du 19 août 2015 page 14508 texte n° 75.

Ministère de l’Agriculture, de l’Agroalimentaire et de la Forêt (MAAF). 2015. Plan de développement de l’Agroforesterie. 36p.

Organisation des Nations Unis pour l’Alimentation et l’Agriculture (FAO). Définition Agroforestry.

Philippe Balny, Denis Domallain, Michel de Galbert. 2015. Promotion des systèmes agroforestiers : Propositions pour un plan d’actions en faveur de l’arbre et de la haie associés aux productions agricoles. Conseil général de l’alimentation, de l’agriculture et des espaces ruraux (CGAAER). 79p.

U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA). Agroforestry. Web site consulted on July 28th, 2018.

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