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Productivity and economic evaluation of agroforestry systems for sustainable production of food and non-food products

Mølgaard Hald, L. ORCID:, Smith, J., Westaway, S., Pisanelli, A. ORCID:, Russo, G., Borek, R. ORCID:, Mignon, S. ORCID:, Gliga, A., Smith, L. ORCID: and Bahadur Ghaley, B. (2020) Productivity and economic evaluation of agroforestry systems for sustainable production of food and non-food products. Sustainability, 12 (13). 5429. ISSN 2071-1050

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To link to this item DOI: 10.3390/su12135429


Agroforestry systems have multifunctional roles in enhancing agronomic productivity, co-production of diversity of food and non-food products and provision of ecosystem services. The knowledge of the performance of agroforestry systems compared with monoculture is scarce and scattered. Hence, the objective of the study was to analyze the agronomic productivity and economic viability of diverse agroforestry systems in Europe. A network of five agroforestry systems integrating arable crops, livestock and biomass trees was investigated to assess the range of agricultural products in each agroforestry system. Land Equivalent Ratio (LER) was used to measure the agronomic productivity, whereas gross margin was used as an indicator for economic viability assessment. LER values ranged from 1.36–2.00, indicating that agroforestry systems were more productive by 36–100% compared to monocultures. Agroforestry gross margin was lower in Denmark (€112 ha−1 year−1) compared to United Kingdom (€5083 ha−1 year−1) and the crop component yielded higher returns compared to negative returns from the tree component in agroforestry. Hence, the study provided robust field-based evidence on agronomic productivity and economic viability assessment of agroforestry systems in diverse contexts for informed decision making by land managers, advisory services, farmers and policymakers.

Item Type:Article
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ID Code:112726


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