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Williams College

Publication Date

Spring 2023

Program Name

Australia: Rainforest, Reef, and Cultural Ecology


Agroforestry is the act of combining farming and tree planting, and many Tasmanian farmers are starting to plant trees on their properties for multiple reasons. Through conducting 9 interviews with farmers and researchers and visiting field sites, 3 main themes were identified to answer the question: why are Tasmanian farmers planting trees, and what are the benefits and downsides to agroforestry? Interviews help us understand farmers’ perceptions of agroforestry, and field data collection will prove the benefits of agroforestry in the future. Tasmania was chosen as the location of study as it is a state in Australia that largely focuses on agriculture, has a large logging industry, and is home to the ongoing Perennial Prosperity research project that is currently researching many topics relating to agroforestry.

The 3 themes identified are benefits agroforestry provides to farmers and ecosystems (1), challenges farmers face with agroforestry or problems not solved by agroforestry (2), and future opportunities positively relating to agroforestry (3). Farmers are planting trees to provide ecosystem services such as erosion control and shelter, increase farm productivity and biodiversity, help reach carbon neutrality, give security in the face of global climate change, improve aesthetics and mental health, and diversify income through supplying timber. Farmers face multiple challenges when using agroforestry, some of which include persisting problems with agricultural systems and costs for tree implementation. Future opportunities such as agroforestry research and shifts towards local agriculture could have positive impacts in various sectors. Agroforestry is likely to increase in the future, and understanding the various benefits trees give to humans and the planet will be important in future agricultural and agroforestry related endeavors.


Agricultural and Resource Economics | Agriculture | Biodiversity | Environmental Studies | Forest Management | Human Ecology | Natural Resources and Conservation


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