Why Plant Trees / Supporting Agricultural Production
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Why Plant Trees
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Supporting Agricultural Production

Numerous factors make farm forestry an attractive option for many farmers.Trees on farms may be able to increase or enhance agricultural productivity through the provision of shade and shelter, the production of alternative sources of stock fodder or by assisting in the control of pests or disease.. In some cases, such as shelter for stock, the evidence that trees can improve production is well established. However, less is known for example about the potential of trees to assist in controlling pests and disease in farming systems. There is some evidence that suggests that shelterbelts can enhance crop production, especially where winds cause physical damage or increase soil erosion. In horticulture it is common to establish shelterbelts to protect valuable fruit and vegetable crops from wind damage as bruising downgrades the product.

Shade and shelter

In drought-prone regions in particular, many farmers are keen to explore opportunities for native and introduced trees to provide drought fodder. It is unlikely that tree fodders will replace pasture or fodder crops. However, experience suggests that during annual feed shortages or extended droughts it may be possible to rely on trees with palatable foliage or even edible fruits as a substitute or a supplement to expensive fodder alternatives.


It is often suggested that increasing the diversity of habitats on a farm may assist in controlling agricultural pests and diseases. Unfortunately, there has been little research on this complex subject. What we do know is that tree planting can increase the diversity and number of native insect-eating birds and small mammal species, and that the habitat value of farm forestry can be increased through the selection of species, management and layout. Trees can howevermake the control of other pests and diseases more difficult. Foxes, rabbits and other vermin may harbour in plantations and the presence of trees may make the use of pesticides impractical or expensive. This is a complex subject.

Planting Trees to Reduce the Impact of Pests
Planting Trees to Reduce the Spread of Weeds

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