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What is agroforestry?

Agroforestry is the integration of trees with either crops or livestock on the same land. It aims to achieve additional benefits in comparison to keeping agriculture and trees separate. 

Across the world, agroforestry encompasses a wide variety of practices ranging from simple shelterbelts of trees around fields to an intimate integration of food crops and trees.

Benefits of agroforestry

  • Farming and forestry working together in the same field, providing additional sources of sustainable on-farm revenue
  • growing high-quality timber managed to integrate with livestock production and grass growth
  • promoting animal welfare and contributing to better livestock productivity
  • enhancing grass growth,  biodiversity and water quality with  improved shelter, soil health and nutrient capture
  • enhancing the capacity for on-farm carbon sequestration
  • availing of attractive establishment grants and annual premiums in additionto the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) on eligible land.

Supports for agroforestry

New agroforestry planting is now supported with generous funding available under the Afforestation Grant and Premium Scheme administered by the DAFM. Agroforestry can be planted standalone or  in  combination with other afforestation options, providing an opportunity for farmers to achieve additional environmental, economic and practical objectives.

As with all afforestation schemes, the switch to agroforestry is a permanent land use change.

Types of agroforestry in Europe

  1. Silvopastoral: trees and livestock (currently funded in the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) Forestry Programme).
  2. Silvoarable: trees and crops.
  3. Hedgerows/shelterbelts/trees for water protection.
  4. Forest farming: crop cultivation within a forest, e.g., harvesting of forest fungi.
  5. Homegardens: tree and food production in small areas.

Agroforestry in Ireland

Trees  have a very important role in the farming landscape and agroforestry is now a specific forest type within the DAFM Forestry Programme. A landowner can apply for grant support to plant an area of agroforestry. With the continued need to increase the level of tree planting in Ireland, agroforestry is seen to have a role in contributing to this into the future.

Agroforestry support

The aim of Forest Type 8 – Agroforestry is to provide support for agroforestry and food forests. This will facilitate landowners in planting land with trees and continuing to produce food through agriculture.

Get more information on supports available for Agroforestry here

More information on forestry grants is available here