Can temperate agroforestry systems benefit soil function

Lead Research Organisation: University of York
Department Name: Environment


ntensive agriculture reduces soil biodiversity and soil function, threatening the future of our soils and productivity. This is an unsustainable situation, and yet food demand continues to increase. Agroforestry is a farming system where trees and agricultural crops are grown together in the same field. It is currently not widely practiced in the UK, but interest is growing as emerging evidence suggests that it is more sustainable and can have multiple ecosystem benefits. For example, compared to conventional agricultural fields, agroforestry systems can result in higher biodiversity (Varah et al., 2013), more pollinators (Varah et al., 2020) and, in mature systems, increased soil carbon and nutrient availability (Pardon et al., 2017). However, relatively little agroforestry research focuses on temperate systems - the majority is on tropical and sub-tropical climates and sample sizes are typically very small. This lack of evidence from temperate systems is partly responsible for the low uptake in the UK. Through a combined laboratory and field approach this project will investigate whether temperate agroforestry systems in the UK can mitigate the loss of soil function in currently managed agri-environments.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
NE/S00713X/1 30/09/2019 29/09/2027
2682681 Studentship NE/S00713X/1 30/09/2021 29/06/2025 Beth Katie Evans