Agroforestry in Germany : from traditional to modern applications
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Agroforestry (AF) has a long history also in temperate climatic zones (e.g. grassland fruit orchards / "Streuobstwiesen" in southern Germany or wind brakes in northern Germany). However, due to the immense industrialization of the agricultural sector during the last decades those traditional land use systems were pushed to the fringes and were often not further promoted. On the other hand, modern agriculture also in most parts of Germany is progressively facing major ecological problems: i) loss of biodiversity, ii) soil erosion, and iii) eutrophication, including nitrate leaching. Furthermore, as all European member states should strive to a 20% share of renewable energy by 2020 (i.e., an equivalent of ca. 17.5 million ha of land dedicated to only produce energy crops), an additional pressure on farmland biodiversity as well as on soil and water resources can be expected. Within this context, information on most important and actual running AF activities in Germany, including contact addresses for further details are presented. All German_s AF activities were recently gathered in a newly formed AF working group (www.agroforst.org) to further promote AF on a national but also within the European AF association EURAF on the EU member state level (www.agroforestry.eu).