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Agroforestry in Barents region

Finished Last updated: 07.12.2022
End: oct 2021
Start: nov 2018

As productivity of forestry is lower in northern/arctic areas as compared to more southern locations, multiple use of forests should be emphasized in Barents region.  Agroforestry, a practice which intentionally combines agriculture and forestry to create integrated and sustainable land-use systems, is one potential but poorly understood and developed practice of forest multiple use.

Status Concluded
Start - end date 01.11.2018 - 31.10.2021
Project manager Inger Martinussen

Agroforestry takes advantage of the interactive benefits from combining trees and shrubs with crops and/or livestock. Potential agroforestry practices suitable for Barents region conditions would be, for example, forest farming of Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) like wild berries and mushrooms, effective utilization of wild herbs and production of high quality regional honeys.

Publications in the project


Agroforestry can be defined as sustainable and multifunctional land-use systems where trees are managed together with agricultural crops or livestock on the same piece of land. This definition fits with how the outfield has been managed in generations in Norway. The Norwegian outfields are a multifunctional land-use system. In the northern periphery area, agroforestry has a long history with woodland grazing, reindeer husbandry and gathering of different non-wood forest resources as herbs, mushrooms, and berries. Traditional agroforestry has gradually disappeared during the 20th century with the intensification of agriculture and forestry. Currently agroforestry systems are gaining new interest, not only from farmers but also from politicians, as this practice can possibly contribute to a more sustainable way of agricultural production. In the northern periphery area, the benefits of agroforestry practices can be manifold not only promoting traditional practices, but also novel systems with the use of new technology. In addition, agroforestry has environmental benefits as a method for conservation and enhancement of biodiversity, improved nutrient cycling, and water quality. Soil humus layer will also increase with several agroforestry systems leading to carbon sequestration. The Norwegian population of 5.3 mill populate an area of 323805 km2. The mainland of Norway is 323805 km2 while Svalbard and Jan Mayen represent 61022 and 377 km2, respectively. Number of persons per km2 are 14, however, as much as 82% of the Norwegian population inhabits cities/densely populated areas. These figures tell us that Norway have a large outfield with forests and mountains. The biggest owner of Norwegian outfield1 is the Norwegian state by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. The state-owned enterprise Statskog SF is set to administer the property, that alone consist of about 23% of the total outfield-area of Norway. Almost 80% of the state-owned property is above the treeline and covers mountains and alpine grassland who are valuable grazing resources for reindeer herders and local farmers. Most of the forests are also used as grazing areas for local farmers and reindeer herders. The state-owned property in the southern Norway are managed as commons, where locals have rights in commons, typically this is right to graze, hunt and fish on the state ground. In the northern part of Norway, the grazing-rights are defined as user-rights and technically not rights in commons while the right to hunt, fish and gathering of berries and herbs etc. is an “all-mans-right”.