Climate change vulnerability of agroforestry

Not much research has been done on the impacts of climate change on agroforestry systems. Spatial dimensions, time to reach maturity and the complexities of above- and below-ground interactions between often diverse assemblages of crop and tree species make experimental trials of agroforestry systems very difficult to implement and maintain in the field. While field crops can be grown relatively easily under controlled-climate conditions, this is much more difficult for trees. Due to scarcity of information on how trees and agroforestry systems respond to climate, there are no agroforestry models that can reliably be used for projecting the impacts of climate change. Ecological niche modelling offers an alternative, but caution should also be applied when interpreting results from this procedure. The techniques of tree-ring measurement and stable isotope analyses have been widely used to understand the long-term impacts of climate variations at the species, community and landscape levels, particularly in temperate regions. In tropical regions, however, the technique has only recently been introduced.