Case Study: Agroforestry in Aberdeenshire

This agroforestry plan is for a site in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. The site is currently a grass field, with rough turf cover on humus-rich podzols. This field adjoins a small garden area and existing home. This plan is designed to make full use of this area, with an integrated agroforestry system which will ultimately include chickens and ducks. It will increase productivity and biodiversity, providing a relatively low-maintenance and ecologically sensitive system for food production.

The topography of the site includes a gentle mound at the heart of the site, which slopes down to the old field boundary at the north east, and to the south and south east. Current challenges, which this design aims to overcome, include a field drain which causes bogginess and standing water along the old field boundary, and exposure to prevailing winds from the south west.

The old field boundary will be improved with the addition of two ponds, a smaller wildlife pond, and a larger pond which may ultimately be used for ducks.

I have also suggested that the existing hedgerow to the south be extended (with the same native species: hazel, blackthorn, hawthorn, elder, rosa..) along the western edge of the site. And also that aspen and birch be planted (with under plantings) to form more cover in the south western corner of the site.

The majority of the design involves the creation of open woodland, with fruit and other productive trees and shrubs. Both native and non-native nitrogen fixers are used throughout the design, including alders, Elaeagnus shrubs, Siberian pea trees, etc.. Hugely diverse herbaceous layers will be added over time.

As you can see from the design above, most of the site will become open woodland, with glades to enable as rich a diversity as possible. 

In glades at the heart of the system, there will be three large growing areas protected from chickens with a willow wattle fence. These areas will be utilised for more intensive cane and bush berry production, and for perennial vegetables and herbs. 

More details of planting and specifics were delivered to the client. If you are interested in a similar design for your own property, or would like to know more, please do get in touch.

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