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  • Author or Editor: M.R. Burgess x
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Increased adoption of silvoarable agroforestry (SAF) systems in Europe, by integrating trees and arable crops on the same land, could offer environmental benefits compared with conventional agricultural systems. Soil erosion, nitrogen leaching, carbon sequestration and landscape biodiversity were assessed for a stratified random sample of 19 landscape test sites in Mediterranean and Atlantic regions of Europe using computer models developed in the Silvoarable Agroforestry for Europe (SAFE) project. At each site, the effect of introducing agroforestry was examined by simulating the growth of one of five tree species (hybrid walnut Juglans spp., wild cherry Prunus avium L., poplar Populus spp., holm oak Quercus ilex L. subsp. ilex and stone pine Pinus pinea L.) at two tree densities (50 and 113 trees ha-1) in combination with up to five crops (wheat, sunflower, oilseed, grain maize and silage maize). Across the 19 landscape test sites, SAF had a positive impact on the four indicators with the strongest effects when introduced on the best quality land. The computer simulations showed that SAF could significantly reduce erosion by up to 65% when combined with contouring practices. Nitrogen leaching could be reduced by 21%. With agroforestry, predicted mean carbon sequestration, over a 60-year period, ranged from 5 to 179 t C ha-1 depending on tree species and location. Landscape biodiversity was increased by introducing SAF by an average factor of 2.

In: Changing European farming systems for a better future