Sustainable intensification of agriculture through agroforestry. Subproject 5: Quality of in- and outputs of crop and tree biomass in agroforestry systems (SIGNAL)
Project code: JKI-PB-08-1227
Contract period: 01.07.2015 - 31.07.2018
Purpose of research: Applied research
Central aim of the project is to evaluate whether and under which site conditions agroforestry in Germany can be a land use alternative that is ecologically, economically and socially more sustainable than conventional agriculture. Central hypothesis: On marginal sites and sites with high potentials for leaching losses or soil erosion, innovative agroforestry systems are ecologically and economically more sustainable and socially more acceptable than conventional arable farming systems and, thus, improve the societal sustainability of modern agriculture.
Based on measurements in the work package it will be assessed, whether the additional tree-specific inputs contribute to a sustainable and permanent increase in soil fertility. The greatest additional biomass inputs (leaf litter) were observed within the tree strips and in the transition zone between tree strip and crop/grass alley. Decomposition of leaf litter on the soil surface was similar in the shaded and unshaded zone of the crop/grass alley. Both, forage grass and oilseed rape yield were significantly lower close to the tree strips. In addition, in the transition zone the develoment of grass and oilseed rape was delayed.