A conversation with Brendan Guinan of Fiorbhia Farm in Portlaoise, Ireland. Fiorbhia Farm is a natural, regenerative free-range farm with agroforestry that combines heritage farming with new technologies.

A conversation with Clive Bright, an organic farmer in Co. Sligo, Ireland. Clive gives us an insight into how trees can aid farm management on drumlin landscapes and how agroforestry has helped his own farm.

A conversation with Aoife Forde, suckler farmer and farm forest owner, Co. Clare, Ireland

A visit to James Breslin's farm in Co. Donegal, Ireland, with Henry O'Donnel Project manager of Inishowen Uplands EIP. James is a suckler and sheep farmer. In this episode he talks about the challenges of growing his farm & forestry on hill and mountainside exposed to the wild atlantic winds.

A conversation with Gerard Deegan, a lifelong farmer and continuous cover forester, Co. Wesmeath, Ireland

A conversation with Olive Leavy a Woodland Owner & Continuous Cover Forester in Co. Westmeath, Ireland.

A conversation with Co. Wicklow farmer John Kelly about his experience of integrating forestry on his farm in Ireland.⠀⠀

Due to the intensification of agriculture and transition to monoculture plantations, vast areas of native woodland have been lost from the Irish landscape. As these trees gradually vanished from agricultural land, the use of traditional, ancient agroforestry practices dwindled. Currently, forestry cover in Ireland is 25% lower than the European average, with the rate of afforestation remaining critically low. Agroforestry has been cited as a means to increase forestry cover in Ireland while continuing to produce viable high quality agricultural products on the same parcel of land. However, even with a range of afforestation schemes available, farmers exhibit an evident reluctance to adopt agroforestry. This research aimed to examine the main attitudes and perceptions of Irish dairy and drystock farmers to planting trees on their land and adopting agroforestry practices. The majority of farmers included within the dataset exhibited a positive attitude towards trees on their farms, with the main negative behavioural beliefs relating to impacts on pasture. Family and Teagasc (The Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority) are the highest cited influential bodies while the majority of farmers exhibit high perceived behavioural control. Intention rates to plant trees are high, albeit mainly on marginal areas of the farm. Agroforestry knowledge is low in Ireland with the word itself eliciting negative responses amongst the farming community. The results provide a comprehensive understanding of the main attitudes, influential bodies and barriers that affect agroforestry uptake in Ireland.

Presentation given at International Symposium on Climate-Resilient Agri-Environmental Systems (ISCRAES)

With the global population approaching 8 billion, we face an ever-increasing challenge to make efficient use of land for production of resources such as food and timber, while conserving biodiversity and safeguarding the environment for future generations. The practice of farming with trees, or agroforestry, could be one strategy to help meet this challenge, on the premise that trees make use of the space above and below annual crops while benefitting biodiversity. This summary (based on Tom Staton's PhD thesis ‘Evaluating the effects of agroforestry versus arable systems on functional biodiversity and associated ecosystem services’ conducted via the University of Reading) aimed to test this. Data was collected from UK farms to explore the impact of in-field fruit and timber trees on biodiversity, services provided by biodiversity such as pollination and the natural regulation of pests, crop production, and farm income...


Dr. Sara Burbi - Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience - Coventry University, Ryton Gardens Campus, CV8 LG, UK
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