Agroforestry Systems

, Volume 92, Issue 4, pp 1091–1103 | Cite as

Addressing farmer-perceptions and legal constraints to promote agroforestry in Germany

  • Penka Tsonkova
  • Jaconette Mirck
  • Christian Böhm
  • Bettina Fütz


Agroforestry is receiving increasing attention in Germany because of its capacity to address some of the negative consequences of intensive agriculture. However the actual uptake and maintenance of agroforestry by farmers remains low. The aim of this study was to identify the opportunities and obstacles to agroforestry in Germany and to identify potential measures which could address the obstacles and increase agroforestry adoption. Qualitative interviews with 32 farmers indicated that the legal framework and administrative burden associated with agroforestry in Germany was a major obstacle. The farmers recognised that agroforestry provided environmental benefits, but these do not always increase farm profitability. Agroforestry was identified as a viable alternative to conventional farming systems, especially in less productive areas, not profitable when managed in a conventional way. To enhance the implementation of agroforestry the simplification of the legal framework is crucial. Modern agroforestry should be better recognized by existing policy measures providing payments for environmentally friendly farming. Ultimately, an integrated approach for environmental benefits and production objectives is required, which is based on rewarding farmers for providing ecosystem services (ESs) and a stronger public involvement in sustainable land use practices. Rewarding farmers for ESs could increase the interest in agroforestry in highly productive areas, enhancing sustainable land use in the long term.


Barriers for agroforestry Ecosystem services Legal framework Market benefits Policy measures 



The AGFORWARD Project (Grant Agreement No. 613520) is co-funded by the European Commission, within the 7th Framework Programme of RTD. The views and opinions expressed in this report are purely those of the writers and may not in any circumstances be regarded as stating an official position of the European Commission. The AUFWERTEN Project (Reference No. 033L129AN) is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). We thank all farmers who dedicated part of their valuable time to the interviews.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Soil Protection and RecultivationBrandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-SenftenbergCottbusGermany

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