Agroforestry trees have a variety of uses in agriculture including fruit production and crop protection.
Tree diversity in forests, on farms and in agricultural production landscapes – the corner stone of resilience and a key contributor to rural safety nets in those landscapes – is threatened by deforestation, degradation and destruction of natural habitats, including clearing for urban centres, settlement and farming, logging, forest fires, insect pests and diseases, natural disasters, climate change and invasive species.
Although the global rate of deforestation has decreased over the past ten years from an estimate of 16 million hectares per year for 1990–2000 period to 13 million hectares between 2000-2010, deforestation continues at an alarmingly high rate in many countries.
Agroforestry trees differ from crops so the standard model used for the management and ex situ conservation of genetic resources of food crops only partially apply. The large number of genera, long generation intervals, large growth forms, generally outbreeding reproductive systems and species-specific regeneration requirements of agroforestry trees require a complex and more flexible system for the management and conservation of genetic resources.