Agroforestry, known and practiced by our ancestors, has recently been recognized by the UN as the most important agricultural innovation in the EU in the 21st century.
In Poland, this trend is already noticeable, although it’s gaining ground slowly among the country’s farmers.
“It is about limiting or counteracting climate change and building agriculture’s resilience to climate change,” agroforestry expert Marcin Wójcik.
“It’s about absorbing greenhouse gases, about protecting water. By planting trees, we reduce the impact of wind, protect the soil from excessive sunlight, and build biodiversity. We protect these water resources in such a way that the water seeps better into the soil.”
It’s believed that sacrificing agricultural space to increase tree plantation will reduce farm production. But experts and some farmers say it doesn’t have to be like that. Farmer Andrzej Majerski combines cattle breeding with a fruit orchard.
“First of all, cows have better living conditions, during the warm and summer season, they have a shadow,” he said.
“Grass grows better in the orchard, and cows are ecological mowers for the orchard. We do not have to mow, there is no sward after mowing, and also they provide fertilizer.
“So it all works together – that the cows produce fertilizer, have foraged in the orchard, and the apple tree has better conditions, and we have additional income.”
Representatives of the State Forests also support the agroforestry initiative, offering help for those farmers interested in taking part in the scheme.
“By offering these trees to those who will be heading towards agroforestry, we would probably like to promote native trees,” state forests press officer Rafal Zubkowicz said.
“These trees will be a mainstay of diversity, they will favor the birds and insects.”