Agroforestry Futures

Lead Research Organisation: University of Reading
Department Name: Sch of Agriculture Policy and Dev


UK nature-based solutions, such as tree planting, must engage with the agricultural sector, given that agriculture uses
more than 70 per cent of the land in the UK and is a major emitter of greenhouse gases (GHGs). Meeting the UK's tree
planting targets and reducing agricultural GHG emissions may require converting current agricultural land to alternative
land-uses. Agroforestry, where trees are deliberately combined with agriculture on the same piece of land, is one
alternative land-use that maintains food production, but which can also drive down GHG emissions, deliver key ecosystem
services, and create and improve (rural) livelihoods. Agroforestry supports several goals not only relevant to Net Zero, but
for the UK government's 25 Year Environment Plan and Clean Growth Strategy. However, the environmental and societal
benefits of agroforestry can only be realized through widespread adoption by key stakeholders, including farmers and land
managers. The overall objective of the AF Futures project is to co-develop strategies to overcome barriers to, identify
facilitators of, and increase opportunities for agroforestry practices in different UK contexts. Research focused on
understanding the similarities in preferences and perceived challenges identified by different stakeholder groups, as well as
how these might be addressed in local and national contexts will be conducted with AF futures, using a multidisciplinary
approach. Integration of the natural, social and economic, sciences and arts and humanities is central to activities within
AF Futures. Research addressing how regulatory structures, economic incentives, socio-economic drivers and impacts,
and agronomic intervention shape agroforestry practices will be integrated through different disciplinary lenses. The arts
and humanities will be used to create visual transitions from past representations of agroforestry to agroforestry futures,
which integrate socio- economic outcomes and future biodiversity and ecosystem services, if adoption of different particular
agroforestry approaches occurs.


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