The big challenge now is how to scale up and intensify agroforestry systems without losing their unique benefits – most notably, their contributions to food security and nutrition.

One major strategy is to treat agroforestry as a business and improve farmers’ market access, working closely with the private sector. Two other widely discussed options are payments for environmental services , and carbon finance, which we have explored in our research.

Agroforestry can’t match the carbon storage of natural forests or intensive reforestation, but when it replaces land uses with lower carbon stocks, such as pasture, or is used to restore degraded land , it does make substantial contributions. It can also ease the pressure on forests, especially in areas with high demand for cropland – all while improving rural livelihoods and helping build resilience.

In short, many argue, agroforestry is a “win-win ” solution for climate change mitigation, adaptation and rural development – and thus an excellent fit with the goals of REDD+, the UN programme to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries.

Source: TR Foundation (AlertNet), UK