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Key Actors’ Perspectives on Agroforestry’s Potential in North Eastern Germany

Litschel, Johannes; Berendt, Ferréol; Wagner, Hanna; Heidenreich, Simon; Bauer, David; Welp, Martin; Cremer, Tobias

As a land use management system, agroforestry has environmental, economic and societal benefits over conventional agriculture or forestry. Important benefits of combining tree growth with agricultural crops and/or forage production systems include higher biodiversity through more diverse habitats, the control of runoff and soil erosion, the augmentation of soil water availability, the creation of microclimates, carbon sequestration and provision of a more diverse farm economy. As the climate changes, north eastern Germany is likely to be particularly prone to severe effects from droughts and wind erosion in the future. However, the area of land under agroforestry makes up less than 2% of the total agricultural area in Germany. Through qualitative interviews with key actors, this study analyzed the benefits of, potentials for and barriers to implementing agroforestry systems in the federal state of Brandenburg. Results showed that agroforestry systems have significant potential in relation to several benefits, particularly the mitigation of soil erosion and stabilization of microclimate regimes. Additionally, agroforestry has the potential to provide wood for energy production or material uses. Although a small but highly innovative and interlinked community exists, administrative barriers and high start-up costs currently hamper the transition from conventional agriculture to agroforestry systems.
Published in: Land, 10.3390/land12020458, MDPI