AGROFORESTRY can protect animals during heatwaves, boost yields, and cut river and air pollution, new research has found. 

These findings will be presented at the UK's first-ever Agroforestry Show, alongside new discoveries by farmers on how best to incorporate trees on farms as tools for climate resilience and producing food.

The two-day event, being organised by the Soil Association and Woodland Trust on September 6 and 7, aims to upskill farmers and foresters to expand agroforestry as a key climate, nature and farming solution across the UK.

Forestry Journal: Apple trees in an agroforestry project

The event programme, released today, will feature more than 100 speakers on all aspects of agroforestry and include research on how trees can prevent river pollution and reduce ammonia emission, plus insights into the benefits of tree shade to reduce heat impacts on livestock.

Farmers will also be sharing both what has worked and what hasn’t with tree planting, and the impacts it has on nature, with new updates on farm research that is being supported by the event organisers.

Ben Raskin, Soil Association head of agroforestry, said: “The nation’s love of trees and hedgerows shows we intrinsically understand the benefits of trees on farms. But we desperately need more, and this event aims to empower people to make this happen.

“Evidence from farming pioneers and researchers shows that agroforestry can deliver resilience for land managers across the country. Trees can protect their farms from extreme weather, make additional income from tree products and build biodiversity into their land." 

Helen Chesshire, lead farming advocate at the Woodland Trust, said: “We know bringing more trees into the UK farmed landscapes is essential if we are to meet nature and climate goals."

Modelling by Cranfield University, which is summarised in the Woodland Trust's recent Agroforestry Report, showed that by establishing silvopastoral systems on 30 per cent of England's grasslands it would bring pastoral systems into net zero greenhouse gas production by 2051 (assuming no emission cuts from other farm operations).

There are over 100 expert speakers attending the show, at Eastbrook Farm near Swindon, which is backed by lead sponsor Sainsbury’s, to discuss first-hand how they are using trees on their farms.

Eastbrook Farm is managed by Soil Association chief executive Helen Browning, who will be giving tours of her seven-year agroforestry project which has been supported by the Woodland Trust.

READ MORE: ICF conference 2023: Getting farmers into agroforestry

Key sessions at the show include:

  • Trees, climate change and resilience
  • Hedges, Edges and Farmland Trees
  • The Importance of trees in resilient livestock systems
  • Cows & Trees in Silvopasture

Book tickets for the show here