5 Benefits of Agroforestry Explained
Benefits of agroforestry are; environmental protection, resource conservation, job creation, long-term productivity, and biodiversity increase.
This article discusses the benefits of agroforestry, as follows;
1). Environmental Protection (as one of the Benefits of Agroforestry)
Agroforestry protects the environment in a variety of ways. One of these is through the establishment of ecologic resilience .
When multiple, highly-diverse species are made to coexist in a single ecosystem as is the case in agroforestry, a fair degree of resilience is established, so that the ecosystem becomes resistant to external or unhealthy influences.
Ecologic resilience means that the energy pyramid in an ecosystem will function effectively without disruption.
It also implies that all forms of environmental impacts, manmade and natural hazards will have less effect on the ecosystem .
For example, trees and other types of forest vegetation can both preserve and improve air quality, by intercepting and absorbing various pollutants. This is essential for effective production, and prevents harmful processes like the formation of acid rain.
These plants also mitigate climate change through their photosynthetic activities.
The presence of dense vegetation protects the soil from erosion and leaching, while organisms like microbes facilitate processes like biodegradation, which help in the recycling of nutrients.
2). Resource Conservation
Agroforestry also helps in the conservation of resources like soil and water.
Soil conservation is achieved in agroforestry through the activities of plants, soil organisms and other components that provide physical protection and biochemical fortification to the soil . The effectiveness of soil conservation is often enhanced by implementing sustainable farming practices like conservation tillage, in agroforests.
Water conservation is also achieved in agroforestry. Organic matter often forms a layer of mulch on the soil, which reduces evaporation rates. Also, the modification and improvement of soil properties often leads to better moisture retention.
Biomass and bioenergy resources are conserved as a result of the interactions between agricultural crops, livestock, microorganisms and forest vegetation in an agroforest.
3). Job Creation (as one of the Benefits of Agroforestry)
Agroforestry is labor-intensive, meaning that it has potential for the creation of job opportunities.
Job creation in agroforestry is essential for economic growth, especially in regions where agriculture and/or forestry constitute a major part of the economy.
Agroforestry jobs include consulting, training, coordinating, and maintenance.
4). Long-Term Productivity
Due to its ability to establish ecologic resilience, agroforestry is effective for long-term productivity of agriculture.
The productivity of agroforestry is similar to that of both biodynamic and organic farming. While the short-term yield may be less than that of conventional agriculture, it has a higher sustainability and can be more productive than conventional agriculture in the long term.
As a result, agroforestry can be an effective agricultural tool for addressing societal problems like food insecurity and hunger.
5). Biodiversity Increase (as one of the Benefits of Agroforestry)
Increase in biodiversity occurs when forest and agricultural species are made to cohabit in an agroforest.
The unification of multiple species reduces the risk of extinction by expanding the habitat of some forest organisms. It also increases the size of useful organic populations that help the ecosystem function optimally.
Benefits of agroforestry are;
1. Environmental Protection
2. Resource Conservation
3. Job Creation
4. Long-Term Productivity
5. Biodiversity Increase
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3). Noordwijk, M. V.; Hairah, K.; Tata, H. L.; Lasco, H. L. (2019). “How can agroforestry be part of disaster risk management?” Sustainable development through trees on farms: agroforestry in its fifth decade (pp.245-261). Available at: https://www.worldagroforestry.org/publication/how-can-agroforestry-be-part-disaster-risk-management. (Accessed 17 November 2022).