Contribution of multi-functional agroforest systems to the adaptability of agroecosystems to climate change
Léa Bouttier, master’s candidate
Alain Cogliastro, director
Alain Paquette and Christian Messier, collaborateurs, UQAM, Center for Forest Studies
Project funded by Ouranos – Consortium on Regional Climatology and Adaptation to Climate Change
Climate change can have significant consequences for Québec’s crop yields and farming practices.
Throughout the world, it is increasingly recognized that planting trees on farmland using agroforest systems offers a variety of ecological benefits, some of which can ease the anticipated negative effects of climate change.
Research project: Analyzing root distribution in intercrops of trees (hybrid poplar and red oak) and plants
In intercrop systems, trees are planted in widely spaced rows that allow room for farming.
Integrating trees into plots of farmland makes the system complex and the interaction between its components must be taken into account. These interactions are diverse and complex, ranging from symbiosis and exclusion to competition, complementarity and facilitation. They depend on a number of factors, including the species present, their biological cycle (summer or winter annuals, perennials), the regional edaphic and bioclimatic conditions (particularly annual precipitation). The effects of complementarity depend on the competitivity of the intercrops and the plasticicity of the tree roots. The interest of this project lies in the comparison of the root profile of two species of deciduous trees (Quercus rubra and Populus deltoides × nigra ‘3570’) planted with a perennial intercrop in a northern temperate climate (cold and wet).
Counting grids were installed along the trenches to quantify the density of fine roots of interacting species.
Root profiles obtained according to their distance from tree rows and their depth will make it possible to analyse the root plasticicity of the agrosystem’s components.
The project will also make it possible to study crop yields in relation to light availability on the plot.