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The module will provide participants with an in depth appreciation for the crucial role of agroforestry and biodiversity as part of a functional landscape approach in organic and biological agriculture. Participants will describe and identify native species and multi-purpose uses of trees from food, fodder, and fuel production to habitat provision. The vital role and management of field boundary hedgerows for biodiversity, carbon sequestration and water cycling will be appraised as will the importance of developing linked habitats for both domestic and wild native species. Participants will demonstrate field survey skills in aquatic and terrestrial habitats for biodiversity assessment, evaluation, and monitoring.

  • Agroforestry systems forming integrated functional landscapes in sustainable agriculture 
  • Silvo-pasture and silvo-arable systems for enhanced productivity and profitability 
  • Right tree in the right place to deliver integrated systems and ecosystem services  
  • Hedgerow management for enhanced soil carbon, biodiverse habitats, and livestock protection 
  • Role of landscape biodiversity for carbon and water cycling and resilient ecosystems 
  • Farming to conserve and enhance functional habitats for both domestic and wild species 
  • Field surveying for assessing, evaluating, and scoring biodiverse landscapes 
  • Policy support and regulations for agroforestry and biodiverse habitat provision under Pillar 1 and Pillar 2 of the CAP 

The module will be delivered from September in the first semester of each academic year with online lecture sessions each week. Course days and field practicals will be held during the semester to carry out farm and field surveys on agroforestry and landscape biodiversity. Case study assessments and farm audit plans will be carried out during the semester at spaced intervals and the final written exam will be held at the end of the semester.

On successful completion of this module, a student will be able to: 

  1. Describe and explain the beneficial role of and ecosystem functions provided by agroforestry and biodiverse landscapes. 
  2. Review, recognize and compare different silvo-pasture and silvo-arable methods and systems being practised across Europe. 
  3. Identify and select native tree species with suitable growth habits in different environments for their satisfactory development. 
  4. Devise, design and develop an integrated agroforestry plan for a selected farm landscape and crop or livestock production system. 
  5. Assess and evaluate the quality of, and produce remedial actions for, the enhancement of field boundaries and hedgerow habitats on a sample farm.. 
  6. Conduct a biodiversity analysis and survey of a farm landscape and prepare and describe a biodiversity enhancement plan that sensitively integrates domestic and native wild species. 
  7. Analyse, interpret and summarize research findings and developing support policy for agroforestry and biodiversity and their likely impact for developing climate resilient and functional farming landscapes. 

Applicants for the Level 9 Certificate in Agroforestry and Landscape Biodiversity should hold a National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) Level 8 honours degree in Agri-business and Rural Enterprise, Agriculture, Environmental and Land Science, or other Science-related discipline. Where the demand exceeds the places available, offers will be made in rank order based on applicants’ Grade Point Average (GPA).

Applicants who do not hold a degree in the cognate areas specified but who have relevant industry or practical experience in agriculture or biological systems, or same in conjunction with a Level 8 degree in a non-cognate area may be considered for entry under SETU Waterford’s Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) mechanism. In the case of candidates with qualifications in non-cognate disciplines, equal weighting will be given for GPA qualifications (50%) and a selection interview (50%) to assess prospective candidate’s aptitude and experience relevant to the certificate programme.

Graduates with the Level 9 Certificate in Agroforestry and Landscape Biodiversity may wish to apply techniques, practices, and skills learned in agricultural production systems, or provide support and technical advice to growers and farmers, or they may opt to remain in industry or a research, development and innovation environment. They may also use their applied knowledge and skills in public service for the development of supportive agroforestry, biodiversity and environmental policy.

Upon successful completion of other Level 9 Certificates the learner can graduate with a Certificate in Organic and Biological Production (30 credits), a Postgraduate Diploma in Organic and Biological Agriculture (60 credits), plus a dissertation for a MSc in Organic and Biological Agriculture (90 credits).


Course Leaders

Mr John Geraghty

Lecturer in Land Sciences -

Call: +35351302264

Email: [email protected]


Dr Denise O'Meara

Lecturer in Molecular Biology -

Email: [email protected]