FEM-32306 Agroforestry


Studiepunten 6.00

Individual Paper1
Group work3
Excursion (one day)8
Course coordinator(s)dr. MWM Lohbeck
Lecturer(s)dr. D Rozendaal
dr. VJ Ingram
dr. MWM Lohbeck
prof. dr. KE Giller
prof. dr. FJJM Bongers
Examiner(s)dr. MWM Lohbeck
dr. D Rozendaal
prof. dr. FJJM Bongers
dr. VJ Ingram
prof. dr. KE Giller

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

This is an advanced master-level course building on knowledge provided in PPS30306 (Quantitative analysis of Land Use Systems) and on FEM30806 (Resource Dynamics and Sustainable Utilisation).

Continuation courses:

MSc thesis


Agroforestry, a land use system where woody perennials are crops, and/or where perennials are grown in combination with annual crops or pasture and livestock, has received increasing attention as a means to contribute to sustainability, food security and resilience to climate change. Important commodity crops are grown in agroforestry systems (think of cocoa and coffee), but these systems have been much less studied than  simpler annual cropping systems. Most knowledge on agroforestry systems is based on tropical systems though the last decade has seen an increased interest in agroforestry also in temperate zones (e.g. food forests). In this course, agroforestry systems are evaluated as part of farmers’ livelihoods and embedded in economic, institutional and policy environments. Drawing from the disciplines of agronomy, forestry and social sciences (such as economics, management and politics), students will become familiar with the concept of agroforestry. They will understand the social and ecological mechanisms underlying their functioning and productivity. This course spans a range of fundamental concepts and practices using a socio-ecological systems approach. Examples from agroforestry systems from around the world are described and discussed. A central aspect of this course is to develop and spark students' critical and analytical thinking; [under what socio-ecological conditions] can an agroforestry system contribute to livelihoods, food security and resilience to climate change?

Throughout the course, students will be trained in system thinking across spatial scales. The first week will focus on agroforestry systems and relevant socio-ecological processes at the plot to farm level, the second week will focus on the landscape/ territory level and the third week on the regional to global level. Throughout the course, examples from practice will be given.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- explain the concept of agroforestry, describe the diversity of agroforestry systems across the globe;
- analyse the ecological interactions among trees, crops and livestock and how farmers manage these for desired outcomes;
- evaluate the synergies and trade-offs between multiple products and services of agroforestry systems (across time and space);
- evaluate how formal and informal socio-cultural institutions (including markets) affect agroforestry systems;
- critically evaluate basic hypotheses in agroforestry;
- design an agroforestry system including management planning tailored to specific contexts and desired outcomes.


- lectures, guest lectures;

- reading scientific literature;

- present and debate;

- excursion;

- modelling exercise (group assignment);

- design an agroforestry system (group assignment);

- writing position paper (individual assignment).


- written examination (40%);

- position paper and presentation (30%);

- modelling assignment (pass / fail);

- agroforestry design and presentation (30%).


Literature is provided in the course guide which is needed to prepare for the lectures and assignments

Keuze voor: MOAOrganic AgricultureMScA: Spec. A - Agroecology4WD
MFNForest and Nature ConservationMScB: Spec. B - Management4WD
MPSPlant SciencesMScC: Spec. C - Natural Resource Management4WD