Module DDL-4004:
Agroforestry Systems & Prac.

Module Facts

Run by School of Natural Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Dr Eefke Mollee

Overall aims and purpose

This module is core for MSc Agroforestry & Food Security (residential and part-time) and is suitable both for those interested in temperate and tropical agroforestry. It introduces the concepts behind this land use system and ways in which it is practiced around the world. Topics covered are the principles of ecological interactions, agroforestry practices across the world, and the social, economic and ecosystem benefits. It is also available to students on the MSc Forestry and MSc Tropical Forestry programmes.

Course content

Agroforestry classification

Biophysical principles and interactions

Agroforestry and livelihood systems

Food security & environmental resilience

Agricultural components of agroforestry systems

Temperate and tropical agroforestry systems

Agroforestry and conservation

Assessment Criteria


Be able to demonstrate knowledge of, with few factual errors, global agroforestry systems and how their constituent components (including humans) interact and compete. Be able to develop simple working models of ecological interactions. Be able to collate and synthesise material for a case study and present it, orally or in written form, to a descriptive level.


In addition to above, demonstrate an ability to think critically about the roles of agroforestry in sustainable land use and rural livelihoods.


Achieve an A grade overall for the module. In addition to the above, be able to present well reasoned arguments for and against particular approaches to sustainable land use where agroforestry might be appropriate. Present clear evidence of wide reading around the subject and an ability to analyse and synthesise arguments and information.

Learning outcomes

  1. Be able to analyse and classify agroforestry practices based upon their components and their various spatial and temporal arrangements

  2. Be able to evaluate the key ecological interactions between trees and other components in agroecosystems.

  3. Be able to demonstrate an understanding of how agroforestry practices can contribute to ecosystem service provision at multiple scales of analysis.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
COURSEWORK Critical Review

In this exercise you are asked to write a short critical review of a key paper. This paper will be made available via Blackboard. Your short review should be no more than 400 words which cover: (1) summary the paper, (2) its key findings, (3) its limitations, and (4) include a reference to a more appropriate paper on the topic area. More detailed instructions will be provided on the Blackboard site during the first week of the module.

COURSEWORK Livelihood and Land use (LLU) diagram

In this exercise you are asked to create a livelihood and land-use diagram based on a detailed case study. Documents will be made available via Blackboard from which you will derive the information required to construct your diagram. This should be accompanied by a commentary of no more than 1000 words that: (1) describes the diagram; (2) reflects upon the process of creating it; and (3) considers the value of LLU diagrams as a tool for agroforestry practitioners. More detailed instructions will be provided in the area of the Blackboard.

ESSAY Critical Essay

This exercise requires you to write an essay (2,000 – 3,000 words) on an agroforestry-related topic of interest. You are expected to critically review relevant source materials including those provided in the module reading list and supplemented through your own literature searches. A list of possible essay titles, along with more detailed instructions, will be made available in the area of the Blackboard. You may wish to create your own essay title and this is permitted as long as you seek approval from the module organiser before you start working on it. The essay should be written in the third person and follow a conventional academic style – i.e.: (1) an introduction that clearly outlines the topic and indicates the structure of the essay; (2) a main body of text that critically examines relevant theoretical insights and empirical evidence drawing on a range of relevant source material; and (3) a conclusion that reflects upon the arguments made in the main section and clearly states your position. It should be written in paragraphs and structured using headings and sub-headings to organise the text. All sources must be cited in-text and included in the reference list (penalties will be applied to any submissions found to contain plagiarism). The use of graphics (figures, tables, graphs, photos, etc.) is encouraged where appropriate, but do remember to give them appropriate titles/captions, specify the source(s) and refer to any graphics in the main text.

REPORT Practitioner Activity: Agroforestry Design

In this exercise you are asked to design an agroforestry land use system. Documents will be made available via Blackboard from which you will derive the information required to design your field. You are free to decide how you want to present your field, e.g. a map or written text. Your report should consist of two written sections: (1) The Plan - this could contain an annotated graphic, which describes the system(s) implemented (up to 1000 words excluding references, tables and figures). (2) A Commentary – In which you justify your implementation as well as consider the value and the risk of the agroforestry intervention for the farmer (up to 1000 words excluding references, tables and figures). More detailed instructions will be provided in the area of the Blackboard site.


Teaching and Learning Strategy

Practical classes and workshops

Practical sessions associated with the livelihood and land use and the causal diagramming exercises.


For residential students, a field visit to agroforestry sites of interest in the vicinity of Bangor. For students studying at a distance, they will be encouraged to undertake a day's field visit, and share their experiences via the discussion forum hosted on the Blackboard site.

Private study

Personal study to support material delivered in lectures, field site visits and seminars.


Lectures delivered face-to-face for residential students and on-line via Panopto for distance learning students. Recordings will also be available via Blackboard.


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • Awareness of the concepts of spatial and temporal scale in understanding processes and relationships.
  • Appreciation of the reciprocal nature of human-environmental relationships.
  • Understand the provisional nature of information and appreciate competing and alternative explanations.
  • Recognize the moral, ethical and social issues relating to the subject.


Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: