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Review article2023Peer reviewedOpen access

The Decline and Possible Return of Silvipastoral Agroforestry in Sweden

Kumm, Karl-Ivar; Hessle, Anna


Silvipastoral agroforestry in the form of forest grazing and wooded semi-natural pastures has historically been very important for the Swedish supply of food and wood products for local use. Since the end of the 1800s, this form of combined production system has greatly decreased and now covers only 1% of Sweden's land area. However, in recent decades it has gained increased relevance for reasons of landscape, biodiversity and climate. Agroforestry's decline and possible future increase are described through reviews of statistics and the literature read by farmers and politicians whose decisions are behind the development. Especially when it comes to biodiversity and climate, this review also includes the scientific literature. Surveys on Swedish citizens' valuation of silvipastoral agroforestry landscapes compared to treeless pasture and closed forest are also reviewed. It is possible that efforts to increase Sweden's low self-sufficiency in beef and lamb meat, the coming requirements according to the EU's nature restoration law and the need to limit climate change through carbon sequestration in trees may again increase the area of silvipastoral agroforestry. For this to be economically feasible, large grazing areas can be created out of remaining small scattered wooded semi-natural pastures and intervening forestland, which historically may have been grazed forests.


semi-natural pasture; wooded pasture; forest grazing; cattle; sheep; abandonment; afforestation; landscape; biodiversity; climate

Published in

2023, Volume: 12, number: 5, article number: 940Publisher: MDPI