Agroforestry promotion under the post 2020 CAP has started strongly. After the presentation carried out in March 2017 to contribute to the First CAP Assessment Report in the European Commission, the new OMNIBUS regulation has been agreed by the European Commission and the Parliament and it is pending of the Council approval. Two excellent news for agroforesters have been developed in the OMNIBUS regulation. The first one is related with the fact that the concept of “grazable trees” includes both the trees that are directly “grazable” by the animals as it was considered up to now but also the trees that produce feed for animals. This new recognition makes all trees from dehesa in Spain and montado in Portugal fully eligible for direct payments (Pillar I). The second one is related to the Measure 8.2 that will consider the restoration of already existing agroforestry systems, besides the establishment of new ones. This is highly important in the dehesa systems where the “seca” is causing the destruction of a large amount of trees which should be replaced to restore the most important agroforestry system dehesa/montado. EURAF wishes to congratulate all those regional and national governments involved in this success but also to the European Commission and the European Parliament for making this claims possible.
A presentation of the main results of the AGFORWARD project has been carried out for the different Directorates of the European Commission the last 17th October. Paul Burgess, Sonja Kay and María Rosa Mosquera-Losada presented the results dealing with the extent of agroforestry, the development of the innovations, the upscaling and the ecosystem service delivery and the policy recommendations suggested to promote agroforestry implementation across Europe.
Agroforestry was also presented in the last Agri Innovation Summit carried out in Lisbon by the EIP-Agri, where the AFINET project was successfully shown by María Rosa Mosquera-Losada and Joana Amaral Paulo. Moreover, a special session of agroforestry within the First Agroecology Europe Forum, that was organized by Nuria Ferreiro-Domínguez, Anastasia Pantera, and María Rosa Mosquera-Losada in Lyon, was attended by over a hundred people and is briefed in this newsletter.
During the last month, EURAF have also reasons to be concerned and sad, as many people died as consequence of the forest fires in Galicia (NW Spain) and North of Portugal. The lack of use of a territory with a predominant cover of woody vegetation makes necessary to adopt formulas to avoid these catastrophic fires events. EURAF members from those regions were interviewed by journalists and explained that silvopastoralism is the best option to reduce forest fire risk in South Western Europe. This is reflected by the fact that dehesas that are under currently use are not fired, while those that were recently abandoned are burnt. We do hope that policy makers foster silvopastoralism in these areas to reduce, and moreover avoid, fire risk in the forthcoming years.
Please note that the next EURAF conference “Agroforestry as sustainable land use” is taking place in Nijmegen, The Netherlands during 28th - 30th May 2018. We are looking forward to meeting you there. Remember to send your communication by 15 December 2017 and distribute the announcement to anyone that could be interested! More info about the conference can be found in the miscellaneous section of this newsletter.
Because of the growing interest in agroforestry in Flanders region (Belgium) and the raised questions on how to apply agroforestry in horticulture, the “Agroforestry in Flanders” consortium organised an excursion to UK during 12th - 14th September 2017. There were fifty participants: farmers, aspirant-farmers, students, advisors, researchers, etc. from Belgium as well as the Netherlands. They visited five sites. First stop was the forest garden and nut tree plantation managed by the Agroforestry Research Trust (Martin Crawford), situated in Dartington. Afterwards, Shillingford Organics was visited, an organic farm close to Exeter managed by Martyn Bragg. Also Duchy Home Farm was scheduled, an organic farm in Tetbury part of the “Duchy of Cornwall”. Finally, we visited Tolhurst Organic in Whitechurch-on-Thames, an organic farm managed by Iain Tolhurst. The full report of this excursion can be found here.
Figure 1: Some pictures taken during the excursion to UK of the “Agroforestry in Flanders” consortium.
Source: Bert Reubens (EURAF National Delegate for Belgium), November 2017.
2.2 WOODSCAPES Conference in Central and Eastern Europe
The international conference “Wooded rural landscapes in Central and Eastern Europe: biodiversity, cultural legacy and conservation” organized by University of Rzeszów (Poland) and Centre for Ecological Research, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, has been held in Rzeszów (Poland) and Bükk National Park (Hungary) on 20th -25th September 2017.
The event took place under patronage of Polish Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and Ministry of Environment. The special guest was Andrea Furlan, EC policy officer, working on greening and direct payments. EURAF has been represented by Robert Borek, who discussed agroforestry in terms of regional situation, focusing on extensive silvopastoral practices. The aim of the meeting was to identify major problems of wooded rural landscapes in this part of Europe, particularly we focused on wooded pastures in the Carpathian region. Amongst other things, the event provided possibility to discuss about land economy and policies existing there in terms of agriculture, forestry, nature conservation, tourism and spatial planning processes. During the event, AFINET and SustainFARM projects were presented. The general purpose of the meeting was to create a knowledge exchange platform between researchers (foresters, agronomists, ecologists, ethnobotanists, landscape architectures…), NGO, farmers and public administration. The platform members agreed to continuously support wooded landscapes in this part of Europe and provided list of problems and factors of development for this type of landscape. They believe this will provide foundations for development of new, active approach that is necessary for sustaining the richness and values of wooded rural landscapes in Central and Eastern Europe.
Figure 2: Professor Andrzej Bobiec from University of Rzeszów – the main organizer of the event, Robert Borek from IUNG-PIB (Poland) presenting AFINET project, participants of the conference and field trip in Hungary.
Source: Robert Borek (EURAF National Delegate for Poland), November 2017.
In his early fifties, strong figure with dense beard, dressed all in dark green, Daniel Pitek looks more like a forester than a farmer, actually by education he is a forester. But currently he owns a farm of some 600 ha of agricultural land around highest mountain in Bohemia, Milesovka, which is nevertheless only a hill with 837 m asl., in Ceske Stredohori (Czech Central Mountains). As he really likes and does, planting trees on his land, he is in fact an agroforester, even though, I have never heard him to name himself like this. He only insists in simply using his own and traditional experiences.
He grew up near Milesovka, and loved those beautiful mountains but was too free to live under communist regime and left to Germany, where he built a successful construction company. He also had seen how the socialist collectivization destroyed the beautiful landscape full of fruit orchards, meadows and small woodlots, to establish huge blocks of arable lands, building drainage to get off the rainwater as soon as possible, to grow mainly cereals. However the use of high inputs did not bring high yields, but caused erosion, desertification and pollution. Other reason to leave.
Intensive agriculture never worked in this landscape, however was practiced until the change of regime. Soon after the Czech Velvet Revolution, the arable cropping around Milesovka Mountain has soon been abandoned, as it was not profitable and the fields were encroached by natural vegetation. Daniel soon returned back to Czechia with the idea of farming and started to buy those fields, piece by piece, during 1990’s, with the aim to farm with traditional methods. This meant transforming most of the lands to extensive pastures, where sheep are the key animal to keep the landscape productive, clearing most of the encroached vegetation but keeping valuable trees, destroying drainage system and renewing natural ponds on the fields. In the lowlands he established and renewed fruit orchards, with tall tree varieties that can be easily grazed by sheep. And not only sheep, he also grows a herd of deer. His herds are moved around the pastures in a clever rotational grazing management system, which allows good and healthy regrowth of pasture vegetation composed with many plant species, some of them endangered endemics. By returning natural ponds to that landscape, he was able to attract many amphibian and bird species, and overall in combination with scattered trees, it helps to keep water in the landscape. If you now look from the top of Milesovka Mountain you see a mosaic of diversified, gently and sustainably managed landscape that is not only beautiful but also economically productive.
Keeping water in the landscape is now a very hot topic in Czechia with climate change starting to cause more frequents droughts or floods in Central Europe. Clever farming methods of Daniel Pitek based on combination of tree growing and natural pond renewing, creates effective water management and is a good example for other farmers. Czech Agroforestry Association, where Daniel is also a member, often organizes excursions for farmers and university students to show and share his experiences. Moreover, Daniel is starting to be also well-known in varied media as TV, radio or social media and we believe that this type of management, that we can call agroforestry, can become a mainstream in future Czech agriculture.
Figure 3: Some pictures of the Daniel Pitek’s farm in Milesovka Mountain, Czech Republic.
Source: Bohdan Lojka (EURAF National Delegate for Czech Republic), November 2017.
The montado (Portugal)/dehesa (Spain) is an agrosilvopastoral and multifunctional system typical for southern and central Portugal and Spain. Montado/dehesa has recognized cultural and economic values and is also seen as a biodiversity hotspot. Nevertheless, it is being threatened by climate change. Extreme events as heat waves, drought and heavy precipitation occur more often, that brings an increased uncertainty.
LIFE Montado-Adapt is an initiative co-financed by the European Union through the LIFE Program 2014-2020, Climate Action Sub-programme, to promote the adaptation of montado/dehesa system to climate change in Portugal and Spain, increasing the sustainability at an economic, social and environmental level. It is a strategy based on increasing the resilience, creating sustainable farm activities, and consequently, on boosting the rural economic role, avoiding further rural abandonment and decreasing the pressure on the environment.
Thereby the project supports the owners and managers of montado/dehesa lands in the regions of Alentejo (Portugal) and Extremadura and Andalusia (Spain) to implement integrated systems of land use, based on a diversification of the farms, that takes into consideration not only the characteristics of endogenous aspects of each property, but also the expected climatic conditions and market opportunities.
LIFE Montado-Adapt will be implemented in 12 pilot areas, during the 5 years of the project. During the last 2 years a pyramidal replication process will be developed, that the pilot areas to transfer the knowledge and establish cooperation between farmers and technical managers. During this period, each of the pilot areas will work with at least 10 other farms to promote the design of the systems and their implementation.
The team of LIFE Montado-Adapt project is a multidisciplinary group integrated by 17 partners; public and private entities, development associations, research entities, advisory and technical companies, forest associations and owners and managers of montado/dehesas.
Figure 4: Montado/dehesa in southern and central Portugal and Spain.
Source: María Bastidas, Associação de Defesa do Património de Mértola, Portugal, October 2017.
Agroforestry mixing fruits and vegetables is common under tropical regions, but more rare under our temperate climate. Results and experiences are therefore lacking. To answer this need and to provide information to many vegetable growers interested in such agroforestry systems, 16 French partners have worked from 2014 to 2017 within the SMART project funded by French Ministry of Agriculture. This project aimed: i) to better know farmers already managing such systems (a map has been produced), ii) to increase knowledge sharing between farmers (many fields visits and trainings were performed), iii) to better understand how systems perform (biodiversity protection, competition between trees and vegetables, labour cost...), iv) to provide tools to new farmers willing to plant (farms descriptions, videos, handbook for design & management)
All the deliverables of the project (in french!) are available at: http://www.grab.fr/le-projet-smart-9497
Contact : francois [dot] warlop [at] grab [dot] fr (francois [dot] warlop [at] grab [dot] fr)
Figure 5: Experiments carried out within the SMART project.
Source: François Warlop, SMART project, France, October 2017.
The agroforestry session “Agroecology and Agroforestry” carried out in the First Agroecology Europe Forum during 25th-27th October in Lyon, France, has been a complete success. The session was organized by María Rosa Mosquera-Losada, Anastasia Pantera and Nuria Ferreiro-Domínguez and was attended by over one hundred people. It started with the presentation of María Rosa Mosquera-Losada “Agroecology and agroforestry: including woody vegetation in agricultural systems” explaining why agroforestry should be based on the ecointensification or the better use of the resources and an explanation of the agroforestry practices and the extent in Europe. Other presentations were “The future of agro-forestry local breeds pig farming in Region Auvergne Rhône-Alpes” carried out by Antoine Marzio (DIVAPORC, France), “Cacao Forest: Innovating together for the sustainable cocoa of the future” by Pierre Costet (Valrhona, France), “Transition to agroforestry: current challenges and opportunities for the adoption of agroforestry as carbon sequestration strategy” by Sara Burbi (Coventry University, United Kingdom) and “The potential of agroecology and silvopasture to enhance the resilience of grassland systems in the island of Ireland” by Rodrigo Olave (Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI),Northern Ireland). Anastasia Pantera also made a presentation titled “High value tree agroforestry systems in Europe: from tradition to modern environmental and socio-economic needs” about the main agroforestry systems linked to High Value Tree production linked to the AGFORWARD Project. Future collaborations between the recently Agroecology European Association and EURAF will be ensured.
Figure 6: Some pictures taken during the agroforestry session in the First Agroecology Europe Forum.
Source: María Rosa Mosquera-Losada (EURAF President), Anastasia Pantera (EURAF Deputy Secretary), Nuria Ferreiro-Domínguez (EURAF National Delegate for Spain), November 2017.
Thirty people from the European Commission were present during the event carried out to show AGFORWARD final results. María Rosa Mosquera-Losada presented the part related to policy. Among other policy recommendations, a clear definition of agroforestry expanding the current definition given by the EU in the measure 8.2 was explained. The current definition of the European Commission is “land-use systems and practices where woody perennials are deliberately integrated with crops and/or animals on the same parcel of land management unit without the intention to establish a remaining forest stand. The trees may be arranged as single stems, in rows or in groups, while grazing may also take place inside parcels (silvoarable agroforestry, silvopastoralism, grazed or intercropped orchards) or on the limits between parcels (hedges, tree lines)”. Main EURAF comments dealing with the agroforestry definition were that agroforestry can also happen in forestland and fruit trees without understory product delivery is not agroforestry. Main practices were also identified as (i) silvopasture, (ii) silvoarable, (iii) hedgerows, riparian buffer strips, (iv) forest farming and (v) homegardens were fruit trees are present. Those practices can be linked to agricultural land (silvoarable, silvopasture, hedgerows and riparian buffere strips), forestland (silvopasture and forest farming) and periurban and urban areas (homegardens). Agroforestry implementation in agricultural lands (arable, permanent grassland and permanent crops) should be fully eligible in Pillar I and the greening paid per se. The demonstration of agroforestry practices should be linked to the presentation of management plans or the establishment of agroforestry linked to measures 222 (CAP 2007-2013) and 8.2 (CAP 2014-2020). Measures linked to the establishment of agroforestry practices in Pillar II should be broader and allow preservation and promotion of already existing agroforestry practices as recently recognized the OMNIBUS regulation. Agroforestry practices should also be included in forestland to enhance multipurpose use of forests and prevent from forest fires. Maintenance period of measure 8.2 should be similar to those of afforestation and woodland creation measures, i.e. 10 years, not only 5 as in the current CAP. Future measures should also consider a more holistic approach for agroforestry by considering farm scale (Life Cicle Assessments) and landscape scale through the cooperation among farmers. A global agroforestry strategy should be developed considering CAP, education, innovation and research needs to foster this sustainable land use system. The policy reports of the AGFORWARD project can be downloaded here.
Source: María Rosa Mosquera-Losada
FAO Document on Agroforestry for Landscape Restoration
This working paper examines how agroforestry can advance land restoration and conservation, while increasing the resilience of agroecosystems and their contribution to food security and poverty alleviation. It is based on the scientific consensus that healthy lands are the building blocks of environmental, social and economic sustainability. The publication illustrates agroforestry’s main contributions to sustainable ecosystem services, soil productivity and reduction of soil erosion and also describes the key challenges of applying agroforestry in restoration. The paper concludes with a comprehensive set of policy recommendations addressed to policymakers and technical practitioners. The document is available in English and Spanish and can be found here.
Conference on Non-Timber Forest Products and Bioeconomy
The Finnish Natural Resources Institute and the Arctic Centre of the University of Lapland will host a joint conference covering basic and applied research about Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) as a part of the bioeconomy. The Conference will be held during 28th - 30th November 2017 in Rovaniemi, Finland. More info here.
TERRAenVISION Environmental Issues Today: Scientific Solutions for Societal Issues
This conference will take place in Barcelona, Spain during 29th January-2nd February 2018. The aims of the conference focus on the scientific research towards finding solutions for the societal issues of our time. TERRAenVISION promotes interdisciplinary collaboration and networking. More info here.
2nd European Symposium on Pollarding
This 3-day event, open to all agricultural practitioners and stakeholders, natural resource managers and researchers, will take place in Basque Country, France, during 1st – 3rd March 2018. The symposium objectives are to establish a better understanding of the potential benefits of pollarding and to identify ways of extending its practice through exchange and dialogue. More info about the call for contributions here and about the event here.
4th European Agroforestry Conference
The 4th European Agroforestry Conference will take place in Nijmegen, The Netherlands during 28th - 30th May 2018. The conference will focus on how to get the agroforestry goals and how to realise the transition to an agricultural sector, that uses the economic and environmental benefits that agroforestry offers. Farmers are more than welcome the conference to exchange their experiences and know-how, also regarding the barriers in their transition to agroforestry. The conference will include different parallel sessions: i) Factors of success and failure in the transition into agroforestry, ii) Costs and revenues of agroforestry on the scale of the individual farm, a region and a state; proven practice and theoretical models, iii) What do farmers and agricultural organisations think of EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) 2014-2020 and how to influence the next phase of CAP?, iv) Agroforestry as a form of sustainable land use to fight against climate change, v) Testimonies of farmers from across Europe, vi) Environmental benefits of agroforestry, vii) Biodiversity and added value, viii) Tree fodder: food for thoughts?, ix) Innovations in agroforestry, x) Social and economic aspects in developing agroforestry, xi) Tree-Crop-Animal competition and facilitation, xii) Agroforestry and multiple products value chain, xiii) Agroforestry policies, xiv) Open Category. Different field tours will also take place during the conference: (i) Agroforestry and food forest in Belgium, ii) Agroforestry in and around Amsterdam, iii) Food forests in the urban environment of Nijmegen, iv) Sustainable land use and social functions, v) Successfully Innovating food production while coping with bureaucracy, vi) Transforming conventional dairy farms into agroforestry farm). Abstracts must be submitted before 15th December 2017. More info here.
20th Nitrogen Workshop
The 20th Nitrogen Workshop will take place in Rennes, France during 25th -27th June 2018. Contributions that consider interactions between the N cycle and C, P and S cycles, bringing challenging scientific and environmental issues will be welcomed. More info here.
27th European Grassland Federation (EGF) General Meeting
The 27th European Grassland Federation (EGF) General Meeting will take place in Cork, Ireland, during 17th – 21st June 2018. The title of the meeting is “Sustainable Meat and Milk Porduction from Grasslands”. More info here.
13th European IFSA (International Farming Systems Association) Symposium
The 13th European IFSA Symposium will take place in the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Chania, Crete, Greece during 1st – 5th July 2018. The overall theme of the symposium is "Farming systems facing uncertainties and enhancing opportunities". More info here.
XV European Society for Agronomy Congress (ESA)
The XV European Society for Agronomy Congress (ESA) will take place in Geneva, Switzerland during 27th – 31th August 2018. Innovative cropping and farming systems for high quality food production systems will be presented and discussed at this congress. More info here.
This is your newsletter! If there’s anything you think should be included, please send suggestions to euraf [at] agroforestry [dot] eu (euraf [at] agroforestry [dot] eu) for the next issue.
Editors-In-Chief: Nuria Ferreiro-Domínguez and María Rosa Mosquera-Losada
Editorial Committee: María Rosa Mosquera-Losada, Gerry Lawson, Joana Amaral Paulo, Anastasia Pantera, Fabien Balaguer, Jeroen Watté, Bert Reubens, Olivier Baudry, Emil Popov, Vania Georgieva Kachova, Bohdan Lojka, Alain Canet, Yousri Hannachi, Norbert Lamersdorf, Heinrich Spiecker, Konstantinos Mantzanas, Andrea Vityi, Andrea Pisanelli, Adolfo Rosati, Robert Borek, João Palma, Josep Crous-Duran, Nuria Ferreiro-Domínguez, Manuel Bertomeu, Johanna Björklund, Felix Herzog, Mareike Jäger, Mark Vonk, Emiel Anssems, Jo Smith, Mike Strachan, Vasyl Y. Yukhnovskyi, Ganna O. Lobchenko, Mercedes Rois-Díaz.
English Reviewer: Mercedes Rois-Díaz
This Newsletter is edited in Lugo (Spain) by EURAF (ISSN 2445-2556)
- Towards 50% of farmers using agroforestry by 2025 -