Technical note Open Access

MANAGING THE TREE UNDERSTOREY Opportunities for crop diversification

Smith J; Westaway S

AFINET Factsheet exploring opportunities for using the area under the trees as a productive part of the system.Planting trees into arable or vegetable fields means that land is taken out of annual production; depending on the design of the system, this could be up to 25% of the cropping area. There may be no return from the trees for many years after planting; this varies from approximately five years for fruiting species or short rotation coppice systems, to several decades for timber species. In many agroforestry systems, the area in the tree rows between the trees trunks and under the tree canopy is an overlooked and underutilised space and, unmanaged, this can create problems with weed control. Rather than being viewed as a wasted space, this tree row area could provide new opportunities for introducing new crops, therefore increasing production and diversifying the range of marketable products from the farm.

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