Farmers, Teagasc, NUIG, GMIT

Agroforestry is a land use system in which trees or shrubs are grown around or among crops or pastureland. It combines agricultural and forestry methods to create more diverse, productive, profitable, healthy, and sustainable land-use systems.

Biodiversity in agroforestry systems is typically higher than in conventional agricultural systems. With two or more interacting plant species in a given land area, it creates a more complex habitat that can support a wider variety of birds, insects, and other animals. Other advantages include:
• Contributing to food security by restoring the soil fertility for food crops
• Cleaner water through reduced nutrient and soil runoff
• Increasing the number of drought-resistant trees and the subsequent production of fruits, nuts and edible oils
• Reducing deforestation and pressure on woodlands by providing farm-grown fuel wood
• Reducing or eliminating the need for toxic chemicals (insecticides, herbicides, etc.)
• Through more diverse farm produce, improved human nutrition
• Providing growing space for medicinal plants
• Multifunctional site use i.e crop production and animal grazing.
• Typically more drought resistant
• Stabilises depleted soils from erosion
• Bioremediation
• Carbon sequestration
• Green space and visual aesthetics

A more widespread adoption of this model could prove a key element in Galway’s ability not only to feed itself, but also to fuel, warm and heal itself too.
Agroforestry Research Trust, Totnes, UK