Agroforestry systems in form of planted hedgerows have a long-term tradition as land-use systems in various European landscapes, primary in Denmark, North Germany and England. Planting of trees and shrubs into agricultural systems have economical benefits as they provide timber and and fuelwood and other products. It is well recognized, that these shelterbelts enhance biodiversity and have positive effects on the ecosystem functioning. In those contemporary agroforestry systems, selection of tree species and their management are more economically oriented towards an optimizing biomass production, use and harvest, especially in short-rotation systems for bioenergy.
Focus of our research are physiological processes of trees and crops in agroforestry systems and their relations to microclimate and soil properties. Futhermore, we investigate the influence of shelterbeils on the crop physiological performances. Improvement of the efficiency and sustainability of the production of biomass is of major importance for research and development activities. The main challenges is to ensure a production with low carbon and water footprints and their integration in the best-practice agriculture and forestry. In this context, innovative production systems can fulfil the different requirements to increase agricultural production and improving the environmental conditions.
Our research aim is to integrate ecological based results into new production systems of raw materials and bioenergy crops. It is crucial to understand plant responses to combinations of water and nutrient availability for the development of sustainable plant production systems. Particular emphasis is put on interactions between crops and their environment and on plant performance, based on ecophysiological processes and soil-plant-atmosphere interactions.