In agroforestry systems, agricultural production (arable farming or pasture) is combined with forestry production (trees or shrubs for fruits, nuts or timber). This form of land management is associated with positive effects such as improved water and nutrient supply, increased soil fertility, reduced erosion, groundwater protection, climate protection, preservation of biodiversity and an expansion of the product range.

A graduate programme on agroforestry systems (AF) is being established at HEF, building on interdisciplinary collaboration between agricultural and forest scientists and linking modelling approaches with experimental approaches. AF focuses on the integration of woody plants into agricultural landscapes to meet ecological, economic and social needs, with the aim of increasing landscape resilience and ecosystem services through multifunctionality and biodiversity. Within the graduate programme, different PhD projects will investigate the effects of combinations of forestry use of shrubs, fruit and nut trees and agricultural land use on the performance of land use systems at different scales. Modern digital techniques for data collection and provision, modelling and "smart farming" are used. A special feature is the close interdisciplinary cooperation of experts from a wide range of agricultural, forestry and environmental sciences at the site.