A Natural Capital Approach to Agroforestry Decision-Making at the Farm Scale

This review considers how a natural capital approach that has traditionally been applied at a national or regional scale can be practically applied to demonstrate the value of agroforestry systems and improve decision-making in agroforestry at the “enterprise” scale.

First, measurement of ecosystem services is necessary for subsequent valuation. This is done using existing tools and frameworks. The problem is that these tools need to be further developed to allow for more accurate results. For measurement, the use of smaller scale models supported by quantitative and qualitative primary data would be desirable, e.g. a measurement through land use and land cover (LULC) mapping would not have the appropriate level of detail.

On the other hand, for the valuation it is advised to estimate the economic value of each agroforestry system within a range directly relevant to the farmer, as he/she is recognised as the beneficiary; as well as to incorporate use and non-use values.

Finally, an example of a conceptual model for decision-making is proposed, based on existing reviews of ecosystem services in agroforestry systems, as well as direct references from farmers. This framework illustrates benefits in a temperate grass/livestock system but could be adapted to other systems.

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