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Sustainability 2016, 8(6), 574; doi:10.3390/su8060574

Agroforestry—The Next Step in Sustainable and Resilient Agriculture

1
1105 Plant Sciences Laboratory, Department of Crop Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61801, USA
2
1009 Plant Sciences Laboratory, Department of Crop Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61801, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Sean Clark
Received: 30 April 2016 / Revised: 7 June 2016 / Accepted: 12 June 2016 / Published: 18 June 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agriculture–Beyond Organic Farming)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [233 KB, uploaded 18 June 2016]

Abstract

Agriculture faces the unprecedented task of feeding a world population of 9 billion people by 2050 while simultaneously avoiding harmful environmental and social effects. One effort to meet this challenge has been organic farming, with outcomes that are generally positive. However, a number of challenges remain. Organic yields lag behind those in conventional agriculture, and greenhouse gas emissions and nutrient leaching remain somewhat problematic. In this paper, we examine current organic and conventional agriculture systems and suggest that agroforestry, which is the intentional combination of trees and shrubs with crops or livestock, could be the next step in sustainable agriculture. By implementing systems that mimic nature’s functions, agroforestry has the potential to remain productive while supporting a range of ecosystem services. In this paper, we outline the common practices and products of agroforestry as well as beneficial environmental and social effects. We address barriers to agroforestry and explore potential options to alter policies and increase adoption by farmers. We conclude that agroforestry is one of the best land use strategies to contribute to food security while simultaneously limiting environmental degradation. View Full-Text
Keywords: agroforestry; organic agriculture; agroecology; alley cropping; silvopasture; riparian buffer; forest farming; windbreak agroforestry; organic agriculture; agroecology; alley cropping; silvopasture; riparian buffer; forest farming; windbreak
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Wilson, M.H.; Lovell, S.T. Agroforestry—The Next Step in Sustainable and Resilient Agriculture. Sustainability 2016, 8, 574.

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