Linking ecophysiology and ecosystem processes for understanding tree-crop interactions

Planted hedgerows and tree shelterbelts have a long-term tradition as land-use systems in many agro-landscapes. Planting of trees and shrubs into agricultural systems have economical benefits as they provide timber and and fuelwood and other products. It is well recognized, that these shelterbelts enhance biodiversity and have positive effects on the ecosystem functioning.  Focus of our research are physiological processes of tree-crop interactions in agroforestry systems and their relations to microclimate and soil properties. We investigate the influence of shelterbeils on crop physiological performances and for optimzation of the water use efficiency.

Investigation of tree-crop interactions in South AfricaFarmImpact1Shelterbelts reducing wind speed and evapotranspirationEnvironmental physiology of short-rotation forestry

AgroSolarSystems - Development of an integrated Agro-Forestry-Energy approach in the Western Cape

The Western Cape Province in South Africa is characterized by a high evaporation and high wind speeds, which have implications on crop water demands and on water availability in the region. In particular in the last decade, the cultivation of wine and other irrigated orchards increased in the region.In fact South Africa is currently losing agricultural land by soil erosion processes, which must be countered. The project AgroSolarSystems should provide innovative solutions by integrating agroforestry land use systems with energy production to solve erosion problems and provide a combined production of energy and agricultural goods. A focus is on the reduction of wind speed in a vineyard near Stellenbosch. With the proposed integrated project the concept is tested with real data from a pilot farm in the West Coast and implementation plans are created. The establishment of shelterbelts will reduce the wind speed and effects the water supply in the agricultural fields.

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