This website will soon end. Please update your bookmarks with the new website address


Duration: 01.07.2015 – 31.08.2024, Phase III started in September 2021

Funding: SIGNAL is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research through the BonaRes funding initiative.


Conventional agricultural practices have unintended, negative impacts on the environment and ecosystem services. Agroforestry represents a land use innovation for agriculture in Germany. But research on temperate agroforestry systems, as done by SIGNAL, is presently underrepresented.

Aim of the Project:

SIGNAL is part of the BonaRes funding initiative (Soil as a sustainable resource for the bioeconomy). BonaRes strives to improve soil functions by developing sustainable management systems. BonaRes also aims to extend our understanding of soils, soil processes and soil functions.

The project SIGNAL conducts research on alley cropping systems, which are a very promising and widely applicable type of agroforestry, where crop rows alternate with rows of short rotation coppice. SIGNAL is the first comprehensive research project that studies ecological and environmental functions, the profitability and social acceptance of agroforestry systems in different regions of Germany.

In the first two phases it was able to show that the agroforestry systems that were studied, significantly increased soil functions such as carbon sequestration, habitat for biodiversity and erosion resistance. The SIGNAL phase III focus on long-term interactions. The goal of the phase III is to link science and practice and to remove obstacles to encourage Agroforestry on German fields.


  • Nutrient efficiencies
  • Carbon assimilation and respiration
  • Soil biology
  • Management effects
  • Rhizosphere water
  • Tree/grassland interactions
  • Socio-economics
  • Soil microorganisms
  • Biomass quality
  • Site management
  • Sustainable soil productivity
  • Modelling

Cooperation partners:

Website: Please visit the Website of SIGNAL for more information about the project and have a look in the publications from research within SIGNAL.

Contact: Prof. Dr. Edzo Veldkamp, for inquiries please contact Isabelle Frenzel: frenzel [at] defaf [dot] de