Agroforestry for Ecosystem Services and Environmental Benefits: An Overview

Agroforestry for Ecosystem Services and Environmental Benefits: An Overview


This article reviews research on the ecosystem services and environmental benefits of agroforestry, focusing on the following: 1) carbon sequestration, 2) biodiversity conservation, 3) soil enrichment, and 4) air and water quality.

conclusions & takeaways

Agroforestry systems can increase carbon sequestration in both above- and belowground biomass; the exact amount of carbon sequestered varies with the system, but may increase with higher species richness and tree density. Compared to row crops, agroforestry systems have been shown to improve soil quality. The conservation of biodiversity may also be promoted by agroforestry systems which serve as habitat for species that can tolerate some disturbance, buffers for surrounding habitat, and corridors between habitat remnants. Agroforestry practices have also been shown to play a role in improving air and water quality, especially when used as riparian buffers, which can diminish agricultural runoff into streams, effectively reducing nonpoint source pollution.  The author promotes agroforestry as an integral part of a multifunctional working landscape.


Jose S. Agroforestry for ecosystem services and environmental benefits: an overview. Agroforestry Systems. 2009;76:1–10. doi:10.1007/s10457-009-9229-7.


  • School of Forest Resources and Conservation, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA