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THE POTENTIAL AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR AGROFORESTRY SYSTEMS IN IRELAND by Jim McAdam.

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Presentation on theme: "THE POTENTIAL AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR AGROFORESTRY SYSTEMS IN IRELAND by Jim McAdam."— Presentation transcript:

1 THE POTENTIAL AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR AGROFORESTRY SYSTEMS IN IRELAND by Jim McAdam

2 1.Issues 2.Agroforestry in Ireland 3.Benefits of Agroforestry Systems 4.Farm Suitability 5.Support and Opportunities Contents

3 RURAL ISSUES IN IRELAND Environmental-intensification of grassland farming has resulted in loss of biodiversity,low carbon storage potential, reduced water quality and a degraded rural landscape. blanket cover of conifers on peat Socio-economic-poor incomes from farming -decoupling of support -declining rural population

4 Regulation -conformation to various directives, mainly for soil, water, biodiversity, carbon. Need to address environmental problems and diversify income source i.e. need to find land use systems which are SUSTAINABLE

5 This paper aims to show that Silvopasture as a form of Agroforestry can help address some of these issues and offer a sustainable land use option to livestock farmers or foresters in Ireland

6 What is Agroforestry? Agroforestry is a collective name for land use practices where trees are combined with crops and/or animals on the same unit of land and where there are significant ecological or economic interaction between the tree and the agricultural components. Silvopasture – where trees are grown in grazed pasture in a regular or varied pattern.

7 Examples of Silvopastoral Systems I.Tree culture on swards where widely spaced, protected trees are planted into established swards

8 Examples of Silvopastoral Systems II.Grazing in forests following thinning and reseeding

9 Silvopastoral Systems can be achieved by either: Planting trees into grazed pasture Respacing an established woodland

10 Examples of systems: N. Ireland Note: tree protection

11 Examples of systems

12 Agroforestry in Ireland Very few examples – most are recent Old Poplar plantations for matchsticks Estate ‘parklands’

13 Experimental trials at AFBI’s field station in Loughgall, Co. Armagh. Agroforestry in Ireland

14 Ash and Sycamore silvopasture planted in 1989 Mixtures planted in 1995 Silvoarable area planted in 1997 Agroforestry in Ireland

15 Johnstown Castle, Wexford Silvopastoral trial with cattle

16 Little developed Little developed Encouraging research findings Encouraging research findings Ash at 400 stems/ha (5x5 metres) best Ash at 400 stems/ha (5x5 metres) best Compatible with farming systems Compatible with farming systems Significant environmental improvements Significant environmental improvements Enhances the landscape Enhances the landscape Animal welfare benefits Animal welfare benefits Main Findings

17 Benefits of Agroforestry Systems Landscape Environmental Climate change mitigation Production Economic Social Animal Welfare Sustainability

18 Introduce trees to the farmed landscape Variety of scale and species can be used No need to clear fell Animals through trees are an attraction LANDSCAPE

19 ENVIRONMENTAL Create habitat diversity Absorb nutrients Lock – up carbon

20 Encourage biodiversity Birds, worms, insects, plants ENVIRONMENTAL

21 Biodiversity Benefits Spiders Birds Beetles

22 PRODUCTION/ECONOMIC BENEFITS

23 Tree growth at Loughgall

24 Economic forecasts Complex Decline in stocking rate; increase in timber; increase in non-market values. Sample price scenario (net benefit €/ha) Values of silvopasture over agriculture (2000) Food prices Constant -1%-2% Timber prices +1%+2%+1%+2% €

25 Reduction in grazing Current support No supportSubsidy removed in % % Value of Silvopasture Over Agriculture Year 13 (ash) at 400 stems/ha – 7.21m 3 hurley quality ash butts Year 13 (ash) at 400 stems/ha – 7.21m 3 hurley quality ash butts €272/m 3 from 1.87ha. i.e. €1048/ha

26 ANIMAL WELFARE Animal Welfare

27 SOCIAL Agroforestry is a very sustainable system

28 Supports cultural rural industries

29 Impacts on FORESTRY/WOODLAND  Provide MARKET & NON-MARKET outputs Negative Impacts  Catastrophic events have major impacts  Increase in frost damage, arthropod pests & fungal diseases  Native trees with long cold-season requirement (eg ash) will decline  Ancient heritage and native woodlands under greater threat eg wind damage & selected removal CLIMATE CHANGE IMPLICATIONS

30  Longer growing season = more productivity  Wider range of species available  Carbon storage opportunities  More scope on the ‘margins’ – ie land use systems which can adapt better, enhance landscape and biodiversity  Biomass, scrublands, agroforestry Some Positive Impacts

31 Climate Change Mitigation- Forestry. Move from conifers on peat to broadleaved woodlands and find more novel ways to introduce trees into farmed landscape  Connectivity and expansion of native and heritage woodlands  Need contingency plans for catastrophies  Need to think now about broadening species base  Renewable energy systems  Emphasise carbon storage opportunities

32 Carbon Storage Gordon et al, (2007) in Canada compared C dynamics in Silvopasture (Poplar at 111 trees/ha) vs. Pasture. Land Use PracticeSpeciestC/ha/yr SilvopasturePoplar2.8* PasturePerennial ryegrass1.0 Forest Plantation (Ireland) Sitka spruce (yc 18)3.8 * This rate is equivalent to an immobilised rate of 9.9 t of atmospheric CO2/ha/yr. Net Annual C sequestration potential (tC/ha/yr) in different land use practices

33 Farm Suitability Current uptake is low Current uptake is low An unproven technology An unproven technology Limited short to medium term goals Limited short to medium term goals Agroforestry not promoted as a timber system Agroforestry not promoted as a timber system Delivers; Conservation, Amenity, Recreation, Environmental (CARE) goods Delivers; Conservation, Amenity, Recreation, Environmental (CARE) goods Fits with organic farming and rural community objectives Fits with organic farming and rural community objectives

34 Summary of Farmer Attitudes Huge lack of awareness of agroforestry – need for education Environmental benefits are more important to farmers System flexibility is attractive Most want more information The more farmers are shown about the system, the more interested they become Challenge for researchers and extension workers

35 Support and Opportunities Tree Planting in N. Ireland Currently at 400 ha/year (c.f ha 10 yrs ago) Below Forest Service targets N.I. has lowest tree cover in Europe (6%) Over 70% timber imports Need to increase incentive

36 Decrease livestock production Decrease livestock production Decoupling of subsidy payment Decoupling of subsidy payment Stabilize rural communities Stabilize rural communities Enhance biodiversity Enhance biodiversity Reduce pollution Reduce pollution Sustainability Sustainability EU Policy

37 Support and Opportunities Tree Planting and the Single Farm Payment Farmers can consolidate their SFP to facilitate new tree planting The procedure will reduce the number of entitlements but increase their unit value so SFP unaffected Will increase viability of planting Potential for rural community involvement Helps gain access to agri-environment schemes

38 Support and Opportunities Agroforestry and the SFP Woodland grant payable pro rata at €2720 for 1100 trees/ha Establishment costs are approx €1620/ha Farm Woodland Premium not payable Silvopasture will be considered as forage area and eligible for SFP as long as agriculture remains the predominant use Silvopasture as an option in REPS 4

39 Silvopasture offers a real, sustainable land use option in a post – decoupling, climate change scenario.


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