Agroforestry FAQ

Thu Feb 2 04:39:22 EST 1995

There have been a couple of postings regarding an agroforestry FAQ.

I am not sure if a full FAQ exists, but Geoff Lawson has described the
background and basis of the newsgroup in a previous posting and
this can be seen in the Biosci archives:


To this can be added a *rough* description of what agroforestry is all 
about (my own perception only), since this seems to be a point of
confusion for a lot of people. The standard definition is:

"Agroforestry is a collective name for land-use systems and 
technologies where woody perennials (trees, shrubs, palms, bamboos, 
etc.) are deliberately used on the same land-management units as 
agricultural crops and/or animals, in some form of spatial 
arrangement or temporal sequence. In agroforestry systems there are 
both ecological and economic interactions between the different 
components." (See P.K.R.Nair 1993 "An introduction to agroforestry" 
Kluwer Academic Publishers, Holland for a discussion)

The idea is to get synergy between the components. 
This leads, hopefully, to net improvements in one or more of a range of 
characteristics, such as productivity, sustainability, various 
non-market and environmental benefits etc. Agroforestry is proving 
particularly helpful in developing countries and has now found favour 
in industrialised countries, notably New Zealand and the US. As 
a science, it is also multi-disciplinary and often involves 
practitioner participation in the identification, design and 
execution of research activities. The main champion of agroforestry 
(to date) has been the International Centre for Research in 
Agroforestry (ICRAF), based primarily in Nairobi, Kenya:

E-mail ICRAF at

Those people more interested in basic forestry issues should consult 
the excellent metla site list of Internet resources:

For permaculture/sustainable systems interests, there is a good guide 
to Internet resources at:


Hope this helps. Shouldn't someone write an FAQ though?

Mark Brownlow

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