Farm Woodland Forum - Agroforestry with widely-spaced trees



Agroforestry is farming with trees.  It is a land use system in which trees are grown in combination with agriculture on the same land, and where the trees can be inside land parcels or on boundaries (e.g. in hedges).  

The International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF) provides various definitions of agroforestry, including:

Agroforestry is a recently coined term derived from agriculture and forestry.  It describes practices developed and employed by farmers over many centuries to cultivate trees on farmland in different combinations with crops and livestock.  From the pure agricultural perspective, agroforestry is about recognizing and promoting trees on farms; from the strict forestry perspective, it is about recognition and rights for the tree-based systems and livelihoods that farmers/agroforesters have created and can expand with appropriate support (World Agroforestry Centre, 2012)..

There are two main types of agroforestry system with widely-spaced trees which are appropriate to the UK.

Current policies for Agroforestry

Government policies for adoption of agroforestry in Northern Ireland, Scotland, The Republic of Ireland and the EU as a whole were presented at the 2015 Annual Meeting, and these  presentations can be accessed from the relevant webpage.  More recent versions of the criteria for grant funding of farm woodlands in the UK and Ireland were discussed in the 2016 Annual Meeting, and this presentation can be accessed from the relevant webpage. An update on policies for support of farm woodlands was given at the 2017 Annual Meeting.


Link to a blog on agroforestry as part of the AFINET (AgroForestryInformationNETwork) project.

Agroforesty Research in Europe.  Seminar given by Gerry Lawson, Vice-President of the European Agroforestry Federation (EURAF) to the School of Agriculture and Food Science, University College Dublin on 15th March 2017.


Not all farm woodlands comprise agroforestry with widely-spaced trees.  Trees can be planted more densely to provide shelter belts for overwintering cattle or sheep.  Financial support may be given to landowners to plant trees specifically to slow water run-off after extreme rainfall events, as in the Slowing the Flow project at Pickering, North Yorkshire.

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