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THE POTENTIAL AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR AGROFORESTRY SYSTEMS IN IRELAND by. Jim McAdam. Contents. Issues Agroforestry in Ireland Benefits of Agroforestry Systems Farm Suitability Support and Opportunities. RURAL ISSUES IN IRELAND.

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Presentation Transcript
slide2

Contents

  • Issues
  • Agroforestry in Ireland
  • Benefits of Agroforestry Systems
  • Farm Suitability
  • Support and Opportunities
slide3

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

slide4

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

slide5

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

slide6

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.

slide7

Examples of Silvopastoral Systems

I. Tree culture on swards where widely spaced, protected trees are planted into established swards

slide8

Examples of Silvopastoral Systems

II. Grazing in forests following thinning and reseeding

slide9

Silvopastoral Systemscan be achieved by either:

  • Respacing an established woodland
  • Planting trees into grazed pasture
slide10

Examples of systems: N. Ireland

Note: tree protection

slide12

Agroforestry in Ireland

  • Very few examples – most are recent
  • Old Poplar plantations for matchsticks
  • Estate ‘parklands’
slide13

Agroforestry in Ireland

  • Experimental trials at AFBI’s field station in Loughgall, Co. Armagh.
slide14

Agroforestry in Ireland

  • Ash and Sycamore silvopasture planted in 1989
  • Mixtures planted in 1995
  • Silvoarable area planted in 1997
slide15

Johnstown Castle, Wexford

  • Silvopastoral trial with cattle
slide16

Main Findings

  • Little developed
  • Encouraging research findings
  • Ash at 400 stems/ha (5x5 metres)best
  • Compatible with farming systems
  • Significant environmental improvements
  • Enhances the landscape
  • Animal welfare benefits
slide17

Benefits of Agroforestry Systems

  • Landscape
  • Environmental
  • Climate change mitigation
  • Production
  • Economic
  • Social
  • Animal Welfare
  • Sustainability
slide18

LANDSCAPE

  • 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
slide19

ENVIRONMENTAL

  • Create habitat diversity
  • Absorb nutrients
  • Lock – up carbon
slide20

ENVIRONMENTAL

  • Encourage biodiversity

Birds, worms, insects, plants

slide21

Biodiversity Benefits

Spiders

Birds

Beetles

slide24

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)
slide25

Value of Silvopasture Over Agriculture

  • Year 13 (ash) at 400 stems/ha – 7.21m3 hurley quality ash butts
  • sold @ €272/m3 from 1.87ha.
  • i.e. €1048/ha
slide26

ANIMAL WELFARE

Animal Welfare

slide27

SOCIAL

Agroforestry is a very sustainable system

slide29

CLIMATE CHANGE IMPLICATIONS

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
slide30

Some Positive Impacts

  • 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
slide31

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
slide32

Carbon Storage

Gordon et al, (2007) in Canada compared C dynamics in Silvopasture (Poplar at 111 trees/ha) vs. Pasture.

Net Annual C sequestration potential (tC/ha/yr) in different land use practices

* This rate is equivalent to an immobilised rate of 9.9 t of atmospheric CO2/ha/yr.

slide33

Farm Suitability

  • Current uptake is low
  • An unproven technology
  • Limited short to medium term goals
  • Agroforestry not promoted as a timber system
  • Delivers; Conservation, Amenity, Recreation, Environmental (CARE) goods
  • Fits with organic farming and rural community objectives
slide34

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
slide35

Support and Opportunities

  • Tree Planting in N. Ireland
  • Currently at 400 ha/year (c.f. 1000 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
slide36

EU Policy

  • Decrease livestock production
  • Decoupling of subsidy payment
  • Stabilize rural communities
  • Enhance biodiversity
  • Reduce pollution
  • Sustainability
slide37

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
slide38

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
slide39

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