Ecosystem Services of Agroforestry
Over the past few decades, global environmental issues and problems have increased such as alarming rate of deforestation and land degradation, increased rate of extinction of species, loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Ecosystem service is an umbrella term that includes multitude of natural resources and processes that exists/process within an ecosystem which are for human benefits. It is thus by nature an anthropocentric utilization concept in addition to intrinsic right of nature to exist and proliferate.
Agroforestry is a multifunctional working landscape that apart from alleviating poverty also offers various ecosystem services and environmental benefits. The practice of combining trees with crop ensures higher productivity from monoculture non-agroforestry systems. It improves the efficiency of utilisation of resources (light, water, nutrients) in complimentary manner with higher biomass production. The integration of trees, agricultural crops, and/or animals into an agroforestry system has the potential to enhance soil fertility, reduce erosion, sequester carbon in soil and biomass as sink, improve water and air quality, enhance the diversity of macro and micro organisms and increase aesthetic value of ecosystem.