Agroforestry for ecosystem services and environmental benefits: an overview
Agroforestry systems are believed to provide a number of ecosystem services; however, until recently evidence in the agroforestry literature supporting these perceived benefits has been lacking. This special issue brings together a series of papers from around the globe to address recent findings on the ecosystem services and environmental benefits provided by agroforestry. As prelude to the special issue, this paper examines four major ecosystem services and environmental benefits of agroforestry: (1) carbon sequestration, (2) biodiversity conservation, (3) soil enrichment and (4) air and water quality. Past and present evidence clearly indicates that agroforestry, as part of a multifunctional working landscape, can be a viable land-use option that, in addition to alleviating poverty, offers a number of ecosystem services and environmental benefits. This realization should help promote agroforestry and its role as an integral part of a multifunctional working landscape the world over.