Inspirational ideas: Agroforestry- a win-win for nature and the farmer
Climate and climate change
Agroforestry: a win-win for nature and the farmer
Wind erosion and water availability have been climate change challenges for decades in the German region of Brandenburg. Thomas Domin found a solution to this: agroforestry. He now has in total 7 hectares of 9 different wood strips, helping reduce climatic problems and providing additional profits.
Strong winds, sandy soil and low rainfall made Thomas’ fields vulnerable to wind erosion. After introducing tree strips on his fields, the wind speed reduced significantly. Thomas is happy: “The trees act as a buffer between the arable land and ditches. Their deep roots take up nutrients from deeper soil areas or from ground water reducing nitrate leaching. The lower wind speed and the increased shade lead to lower evaporation.” His free animals are happy too: the trees provide shade and milder microclimatic conditions.
Agroforestry systems provide additional profits. Thomas: “The poplar trees are harvested as ‘energy crops’ and soon we have high quality round wood for sale.”
In 2014, Thomas joined an innovation project on Agroforestry ‘Aufwerten’ (‘Revalue’ in English). One of the solutions they are working on is related to the harvesting and storage of wood. Ralf Pecenka, from Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Engineering and Bioeconomy (ATB) explains: “ATB has developed a simple mower-chipper with which chip length can be adjusted up to 120mm and trunk diameters of 20cm can be harvested. Our storage tests have shown that 75mm chips are best, reducing dry matter losses to ‘only’ 17%. We are now testing other storage and drying techniques.”