Agroforestry is paying off. Economic evaluation of ecosystem services in European landscapes with and without agroforestry systems

The study is based on the economic assessment of marketable (biomass production) and non-marketable (groundwater, nutrient loss, soil loss, carbon sequestration and pollination deficit) ecosystem services in 11 agroforestry landscapes in regions of Europe. Eight random sites were selected in each region and four were identified as having agricultural activities and the other four as having agroforestry activities.

Various environmental and economic models were used for quantification. As a result, it was found that the economic value of agroforestry systems in the Mediterranean region tended to be higher than those of agricultural activities, while in the Atlantic and continental regions, the system of agricultural activities tended to be more profitable. However, when the social values of associated ecosystem services were included, the profitability of agroforestry activities increased. This was driven by a reduction in social costs related to lower nutrient and soil losses, and the social benefits of carbon sequestration.

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