Agroforestry: Balancing the need for nature conservation and livelihood betterment

While the term agroforestry has only been used since the 1960s, it has been a practice in China for thousands of years. IUCN has begun ecological agro-forestry trainings in Northern China. In the first training workshop in June this year, Xiaowopu villagers were taken on a study tour to Huai Rou county to learn about various ecological agro-forestry models and how these models could help to protect watershed while improving their livelihoods.

Agroforestry mushrooms in Huirou country, Beijing, China Photo: LI Jia

These projects include combining forestry with other farm practices such as mushroom farming, free-range chicken, and medicinal plants. Through combining different elements of agricultural productions and forestry plantation, agroforestry not only enhances the outputs of the production activities, it can also reduce nutrient and energy lost in production. It is now one of the powerful tools for conservation and sustainable land-use.

Xiaowopu village is located in Miyun watershed, 200 km northeast of the capital, with less than one USD average income per day. When farmers are empowered to initiate agroforestry in their communities, it enables them to develop innovative approaches to improve livelihoods and conserve watersheds.

For more information, please contact China Forest Programme Officer Ms. LI Jia (


Go to top