Agroforestry is gaining attention for its potential to enhance the resilience and sustainability of farming in the Mediterranean region. A recent analysis published by TRANSITION partners examined how agroforestry systems affect crop yield compared to sole crop cultivation across multiple trials in Mediterranean countries.
The study assessed various factors, including tree cover (low, medium, high), tree species (like ash, chestnut, cork oak, holm oak, olive, poplar, walnut), and crop species (such as alfalfa, barley, durum wheat, faba bean, forage, oat, pasture, pea, winter wheat). Findings indicated these factors significantly influenced crop yields, while the type of agroforestry system (alley cropping, silvo-arable, silvo-pastoral) did not show significant differences.
Among management practices, fertilization emerged as impactful, positively affecting crop yield. Additionally, the interaction between pruning and crop species hinted at some influence on yields. The study acknowledged variation in results, a common trait in agronomic analyses. However, assessments suggested a balanced distribution of studies.
While the study noted a potential decrease in crop yield due to tree competition for light, it highlighted the possibility of positive outcomes during extreme climate events. To optimize agroforestry benefits, maximizing synergies among tree cover, species diversity, crop types, and management practices is crucial.
The study emphasizes the need for further exploration, focusing on the holistic benefits agroforestry can offer across various scales in the Mediterranean region. Continued research and long-term monitoring promise insights into maximizing the potential of agroforestry systems.
Reference of the article:
Scordia, D., Corinzia, S. A., Coello, J., Vilaplana Ventura, R., Jiménez-De-Santiago, D. E., Singla Just, B., … & Testa, G. (2023). Are agroforestry systems more productive than monocultures in Mediterranean countries? A meta-analysis. Agronomy for Sustainable Development, 43(6), 73.