Agroforestry is a new word for a very old farming method. The word, and also the practical meaning,combine agro as in farming and forestry as in trees.
Very simply Agroforestry combines or intergrates trees and shrubs with crops and or animals in farming system. In this it deffers from forestry which may have a large area covered with only one type (or a few) of trees,and clearly it deffers from conventional agriculture which may have large areas only covered in Maize or Wheat. In Agroforestry trees and shrubs maybe grown either at the same time as the crops or in rotation with the crops.
There is nothing new about growing trees and crops together. Our ancestors did this. Agroforestry began through the careful observation and sound common sense of our ancestors as they worked out the best ways of sustainably feeding themselves while keeping the soil constantly rich,productive and fertile,and benefiting from all those resources that nature provided for free.
What may be really new in Agroforestry is now farmers do a lot of tree planting and caring of those trees, whereas traditionaly the farmer mainly used existing trees.
Agroforestry is about using traditional knowledge and improving the methodes and techniquies that have been used over generations.It combines from traditional experiencies and scientific experiments.
Agroforestry is a farming system - This means that the diffent parts of the farm are dependent on each other and that the parts co-operate. This means that crops,animals and trees support each other to produce the totral yield on farm.Think about the parts of a bicycle co-operate to m,ove the vehicle and what it is carrying.
One reasopn why Agroforestry is such a successful system is that it imitates a natural ecosystem in which a great variety of living and non-living matter interact in a highly productive and sustainable fashion.Think about how plants,trees, and animals licve and rot in a forest, and how this seems to go on and on.......
Consider Agroforestry the next time you do your field/farm plan!