This fellowship will promote the expansion of silvoarable agroforestry in the UK by identifying and providing solutions to barriers to uptake, increasing the evidence-base for farming practices, and co-developing recommendations for policy, research, and educational outputs.
Silvoarable agroforestry (growing trees and crops simultaneously in the same field) may help mitigate climate change and create climate resilience within the farming industry, and the UK government is aiming to increase agroforestry to 10% of farmland by 2050.
But despite this, there are several barriers hindering adoption in the UK, including financial and knowledge constraints. During this fellowship, Dr Amelia Hood will work alongside the agroforestry research group at the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development, University of Reading, to identify these barriers and provide solutions to them.
Dr Hood will partner with Defra to conduct stakeholder interviews and summarise evidence for policymakers. Additionally, through a placement at the Biodiversified AgroecoSYStems Unit in France, where silvoarable systems are more widely used, Dr Hood will bring back new ideas and approaches for the UK. Finally, Dr Hood will bring all this evidence together and provide training and education tools to UK farmers in a workshop alongside FarmEd and will create a space where stakeholders can co-design practical solutions via recommendations for policy, research, and educational outputs.
Dr Amelia Hood is a Postdoctoral Research Assistant at the University of Reading. She is interested in sustainable farming, and in win-wins for biodiversity and production in particular. She conducts manipulative ecological experiments, and is especially fascinated by the weirdness of invertebrates. Dr Hood’s current research focuses on co-designing biodiversity interventions with arable farmers in the UK. She has also worked in several other systems, including oil palm agriculture, cassava agriculture, and tropical rainforest. Her research to date has focussed on testing the interaction between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, quantifying ecological redundancy and resilience, and ants in general.
Dr Amelia Hood, University of Reading
The Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs and the Biodiversified Agrosystems Unit