Two field trials managed by AFBI at its Loughgall research station are used in this project. Previous work focused on the comparison between grassland, agroforestry and woodland systems.
Field trial Permanent grassland
* MAT: Medium Average Temperature
** MAP: Medium Average Precipitation
To investigate agro-forestry systems with an emphasis on quantifying the impact of management practices on ecosystem functioning and climate change mitigation strategies including greenhouse gas dynamics and global warming potential as well as ecosystem service provision.
I am proud of our long term experiment because is the oldest facility in the UK and recognized for its research and much needed to improve climate projections and increase resilience of our farming systems.”
Rodrigo Olave AFBI
The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) has been involved in agroforestry research since 1989, initially as part of UK and EU networks investigating the effects of tree density on sheep production, pasture production and ecosystem services delivery. AFBI research has shown that trees can be successfully integrated and grown in pasture. Trees grown in pasture can extend the grazing season, so improving grass utilisation. They also help grazing resilience during extreme rainfall, increase biodiversity and carbon sequestration and provide renewable fuel.
Other environmental benefits demonstrated in AFBI research include reduced wind and temperature stress on animals, root differentiation, improved soil structure and less leaching of nutrients. Economic predictions are positive. These come from farmer surveys, recommendation in the Sustainable Agricultural Land Management Strategy and inclusion in the current Environmental Farming Scheme. Uptake on commercial farms across UK has shown that agroforestry is a realistic land-use option that delivers key objectives in managed landscapes.
Discover our eight agroforestry and mixed farming trial sites
Fornara, D., Olave, R., Burgess, P., Delmer, A., Upson., M., McAdam, J (2018). Land use change and soil carbon pools: evidence from a long term silvopastoral experiment. Agroforestry Systems. (92) 4: 1035–1046. McAdam, J. H., Sibbald, A. R., Teklehaimanot, Z., Eason, W. R. (2007). Developing silvopastoral systems and their effects on diversity of fauna. Agroforestry Systems, 70(1):81-89 Website link: Farm Woodland & Agroforestry projects | Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute.