Agroforestry: a primer – Design and management principles for people and the environment



  • Nearly every farm on the planet is facing the challenge of land and soil degradation.
  • The overuse of farm chemicals and the destruction of habitat on farms and in rural areas have a negative impact on the biological diversity of our world.
  • We can better protect production systems to withstand climate change by making perennials (trees and shrubs) a greater component of the farming system – perennials are more resilient to these destabilizing conditions than annual crops.


Why agroforestry?


Conventional agriculture is very productive, however high productivity comes at an environmental cost: soil that is depleted or eroded, watercourses that are polluted or drying up, and a food system that produces 20–40% of greenhouse-gas emissions.

Many people now agree that we urgently need to transform the food system, including agriculture. Agroforestry, as a nature-based approach to production and land use, will play an important role in this transformation.

Agroforestry is a land use that combines trees with crops, trees with livestock, or trees with both crops and livestock. This mix of components creates an agroforestry system in which the components interact in a beneficial manner, improving agriculture in many ways; for example, by improving farm yields, increasing farm incomes, and contributing to soil and water conservation. Agroforestry is a form of ‘trees-on-farms’.


Learn more about Agroforestry for farmers’ livelihoods and ecosystem services 🌳

Publisher: CIFOR-ICRAF

Language: English

Year: 2022

Ecosystem(s): Agricultural Land

Related Publications