EURAF faces relevant challenges for 2016 at policy, research and education/innovation levels. As described later in this Newsletter, EURAF has highlighted the importance of agroforestry as part of the solutions to overcome climate change effects (COP21) and subscribed to the 4‰ initiative to compensate greenhouse gases emissions, as agroforestry is proposed as one of the easiest activities to improve soil C in terrestrial ecosystems at long term. The recognition of C stored by woody component in agricultural lands is an important goal to improve the levels of stable soil C in treeless lands.
EURAF congratulates colleagues in France, who have highlighted the role of agroforestry in developing a more resource-efficient, sustainable agriculture by launching the first National Agroforestry Plan in Europe. EURAF hopes that other European countries will follow the French initiative by adopting agroforestry practices in their national policy schemes.
EURAF’s role in the EU Commission and the European Parliament will continue during 2016 by promoting the creation of the Agroforestry Focus Group within the European Innovation Partnership. We invite EURAF members to provide their agroforestry examples to the EIP and to the EURAF newsletter. This will spread knowledge of good agroforestry practices across Europe. Regional and National Agroforestry related operational groups should be promoted, so EURAF will acknowledge the reception of any initiative in Europe dealing with the creation of these groups. EURAF will also organize a two hours session within the European Civil Dialogue Group of Arable Crops of the European Commission in June to foster agroforestry practices in arable lands across Europe. EURAF’s work will also be extended to the European Parliament with the already on going collaborations with the Parliamentary members Mr. Paul Brannen and his assistant, Mr. Pawel Bienkowski and Mr. Gambrus and his assistant Mr. Frederic Lopez Palau and the help of Ms. Melanie Lamaison (Alienor).
Research is another key activity for EURAF. EURAF contributed to a paper providing a "Preliminary stratification and quantification of agroforestry in Europe" as part of the AGFORWARD project, and is also working in that project to identify the main policy problems restricting the implementation of agroforestry in Europe. Clarification of the eligibility of agroforestry for direct payments (Pillar I) as well as sharing good practices relating to agroforestry in Rural Development Programmes (Pillar II) will be a key EURAF activity in 2016, and we encourage you to contact us with your ideas!
Dissemination will be a key action during this year, EURAF will be part of the organization of different international meetings during 2016. Our Third Agroforestry Conference will take place in May in Montpellier (France) thanks to the leadership of our former president Christian Dupraz and The World Congress Silvo - Pastoral Systems 2016 will take place in Évora (Portugal) in September, besides other national conferences like those in Spain (Barcelona, 21st - 22nd June 2016), France (Marciac) and UK (Northern-Ireland).
All these activities are carried out by EURAF members and collaborators, but we need your help, so please feel free to contact us through our e-mail euraf [at] agroforestry [dot] eu (euraf [at] agroforestry [dot] eu) and/or become a member after contacting with your national delegate. Do not forget to meet us in Montpellier (deadline for abstracts: 15 February!!).
At the First Swedish Agroforestry Congress, held in Gothenburg the 13th to 15th of November, the first step was taken to establish a Nordic agroforestry association. Participants from Sweden and Norway gathered and an interim group was selected that will draft a detailed proposal for organisational structure and aims for the association, as well as plan for a constituting meeting in February 2017. The association will welcome individual members as well as organisations from the Nordic countries. Agroforestry Norden will work as a platform for coordinated activities related to agroforestry, with the aim, among other things, of exchanging knowledge and practical experience and promoting the development of agroforestry within the participating countries. Agroforestry Norden will also apply for membership in EURAF. For more information please contact:
Sweden: Johanna Björklund (Johanna [dot] bjorklund [at] oru [dot] se (Johanna [dot] bjorklund [at] oru [dot] se))
Norway: Marianne Leisner (marianne [dot] leisner [at] norskfolkemuseum [dot] no (marianne [dot] leisner [at] norskfolkemuseum [dot] no))
Source: Johanna Björklund School of Science and Technology, Örebro University, SE-701 82 Örebro, Sweden)
On December 17th, Stéphane Le Foll, France’s Minister of Agriculture, launched a 5-year plan to boost the development of agroforestry across France. This plan, which will conclude in 2020, is the country’s first ever national effort to develop this game-changing suite of agricultural techniques.
The plan is the result of years of work by a wide range of stakeholders, from farmers to researchers, agricultural extension services and farmers’ associations. It is a lynchpin of the Ministry’s “Agro-Ecological Project for France” launched in December 2012.
Mr. Le Foll stated that "Agroforestry systems have a positive impact on soils, water, biodiversity and climate. Trees help agriculture mitigate and adapt to climate change, making agroforestry a key component of the 4‰ initiative.”
The plan is divided into 5 orientations and 23 actions:
- Establish a detailed register of the diversity of agroforestry systems across France
- Improve the regulatory framework to favour the establishment of new agroforestry systems and better protect existing ones
- Enhance agroforestry training, advisory and promotional services
- Boost the economic returns of agroforestry products
- Promote and encourage the use of agroforestry internationally
Figure 1: Some pictures of the event where the French National Plan was launched
Fabien Balaguer (French Agroforestry Association) and Patrick Worms (World Agroforestry
“La Cabreta” is a Galician farm owned by a couple, Ermitas and Joan, who met in 2003 during an Erasmus fellowship, and had a common dream to start their own project: to live in the countryside and own their own farm. They moved from Catalonia (NE Spain) to Meira, Galicia (NW Spain) to start their farm.
Figure 2: Owners of the “La Cabreta” farm
"La Cabreta" is an outdoor goat and sheep production enterprise linked to forest and grasslands. in 2008 in Meira (Lugo province of Galicia region) on rented lands from the Banco de Terras de Galicia. Meira is on the limit of "Terra Cha" county characterized by intensive cow milk farms mixed with forestry areas (Eucalyptus spp. and Pinus radiata). Banco de Terras is a web based system where land owners can rent their lands to animal owners to graze animals. The starting point for “La Cabreta” was 26 ha of abandoned land full of bushes (Ulex europaeus and Ulex gallii). In order to control and take advantage of the bushes, they introduced a 150 goat flock and transformed 10 ha to grassland with a long term mixture of seeds.
Figure 3: Transformation of the landscape carried out by goats
It was really hard to establish the farm, as Ermitas and Joan had to learn by themselves everything about extensive goat flock management, which was not a common practice in the area. Nevertheless, they found a way to implement extensive management (all day, all night and 365 days/year outdoor grazing time) in a high wolf density area thanks to the cooperation with their neighbors.
They found a way to help forest owners by grazing during the summertime the bushes that grow under the trees (bramble), while grazing dairy cow grasslands during the autumn and winter, when grass from spring grass silage areas is available. With this system the forest owners get understory bushes removed, while grassland areas are better used. So, the whole system is optimized.
The system reduces the carbon footprint of both farms, as mechanical clearing is not needed, forest fires are reduced and the forest owner has a great reduction of the costs. During the last year, goats grazed 20 ha of grasslands and 10 ha of forestry.
In 2015, a flock of 100 ewes joined the goats to diversify the farm's production and increase the pasture use efficiency. Goats transform forest woody understory into herbaceous vegetation, which is better used by sheep.
Figure 4: Some pictures of the “La Cabreta” farm
Marketing has proven to be really important, because extensive grazing systems are based on low inputs. Therefore, Ermitas and Joan decided to join other sheep and goat farmers and start a quality label called "Cordeiro e Cabrito Atlántico" (Atlantic Lamb and Kit) based on this extensive flock management system. Through the company they started, called Beealia, they sell their products to restaurants, butcheries and the general public all over Spain.
Source: Joan Alibés Biosca (owner of the “La Cabreta” farm
On December 1st 2015, the French Ministry of Agriculture officially launched an international program on carbon sequestration in agricultural soils, called the “4 per 1000” initiative. This program aims to adapt farming practices (promoting agroforestry among other practices) with the goal of fostering carbon-rich soils so as to “reconcile food security and climate change”. According to INRA (the French National Institute for Agronomical Research), an annual increase of “4 per 1000” (0.4‰) in the stock of organic matter in agricultural soils worldwide would be enough to compensate the global emissions of greenhouse gases.
Launched in the middle of COP21, this initiative consists of a voluntary action plan under the Lima Paris Agenda for Action (LPAA), backed up by a strong and ambitious research program. It brings together more than 40 countries and dozens of organizations from the public and private sectors, including EURAF.
Figure 5: Understanding the “4 per 1000” initiative
Understanding the 4 per 1000 initiative: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMWpPfhJVzc
Short video of the launching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yruJNzRYNow
Fabien Balaguer (French Agroforestry Association), January 2016.
The COP21 (2015 UN Climate Change Conference) was held in Paris from November 30th to December 11th. Alain Canet, the Chairman of the French Agroforestry Association (AFAF) and French Delegate to EURAF gave a talk within the official 1-day event of the French Ministry of Agriculture, on December 2nd. He stressed key points on the contribution of agroforestry to both tackling climate change and preserving/restoring soil fertility and therefore improving the resilience of farming systems, environmentally, economically and socially speaking. “The problem of too much carbon above our heads can be mitigated and controlled by increasing the carbon below our feet” he stated.
He added that “the enhanced soil vegetation cover that agroforestry systems enable, including trees and shrubs, but also intermediate crops to keep soils covered all year round, is a powerful, resource-efficient tool to build a truly productive and climate-smart agriculture.”
Figure 6: Picture of the event (photo credit: Oliver Gardiner)
Source: Fabien Balaguer (French Agroforestry Association), January 2016.
The AgroFE project was funded by the European Union during 2014 and 2015. The overall objective of this project was to develop a system for agroforestry training and to promote this in Europe. On 9th December 2015, a final conference of the project titled “Education in agroforestry: building today’s and tomorrow’s agriculture" was held at the European Parliament in Brussels. The meeting was chaired by Ricardo Serrão Santos, Member of the European Parliament (MEP), and brought together over 60 people (European policy makers, national and regional representations, research centers, universities, NGOs and businesses).
During the meeting, Professor Charles Burriel, the leader of the AgroFE project, highlighted “the importance of the support of European policy makers in order to give a boost to the education in agroforestry of the agricultural stakeholders”. Stephen Briggs, agroforester and founder of ABACUS, explained that “further development of agroforestry requires adequate skills, and skill development requires training”.
María Rosa Mosquera Losada, President of EURAF, explained the economic and environmental benefits of agroforestry systems and highlighted that a European Agroforestry Strategy would help to integrate current education, research and innovation initiatives to promote appropriate agroforestry in Europe.
The meeting was closed by MEP Paul Brannen (UK) who concluded that "agroforestry is one of the solutions to fight climate change".
More information about the conference can be found here.
Figure 7: Some pictures taken during the conference
Source: María Rosa Mosquera Losada (EURAF President) and Nuria Ferreiro Domínguez (University of Santiago de Compostela)
With the approval of the Greek RDP in December 2015 all 118 European Rural Development Programmes have now been approved by the European Commission. Thirty four regions or countries from the total of 118 have implemented Sub-Measure 8.2 (establishment and maintenance of agroforestry systems). This Measure stemmed from Article 23 of Regulation 1305/2013 on support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). The countries and regions involved are:
- France (Auvergne, Basse-Normandie, Guadeloupe, Haute-Normandie, Île-de-France, Limousin, Lorraine, Martinique, Midi-Pyrénées, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Pays de la Loire, Picardie, Poitou-Charentes, Rhône Alpes)
- Spain (Andalucía, Principado de Asturias, Extremadura, Galicia, País Vasco, Comunidad Valenciana)
- Italy (Basilicata, Marche, Puglia, Umbria, Veneto)
- Portugal (Continente, Azores, Madeira)
- United Kingdom (Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales)
- Belgium (Flanders)
Around 72,000 ha of agroforestry will be established, although in some countries this includes the rehabilitation of agroforestry areas. Details of the published financial and area commitments are available on the EURAF file space, but some are being verified with the Regions concerned. While it is great news that so many countries and regions have included Sub-Measure 8.2 there is no certainty that the amount budgeted will be spent by the end of the commitment period.
Note to that, while Sub-Measure 8.2 is the main instrument to support agroforestry (and also counts towards ´greening´), there are a number of activities available to support shelterbelts, orchards, and wide-spaced trees. These include aids for using agroforestry as a fire-control technique. Implementation of all potential agroforestry measures will be analysed and summarised by EURAF and the AGFORWARD project in due course.
Source: Gerry Lawson (EURAF Deputy President) and María Rosa Mosquera Losada (EURAF President), January 2016.
3rd European Agroforestry Conference
The 3rd European Agroforestry Conference will take place at Montpellier, France, during 23th – 25th May 2016. The theme of the Conference will be “Celebrating 20 years of Agroforestry research in Europe”.
The deadline for abstract submission is 15th February 2016. More info here.
Agroforestry in Action Webinar Series
The Agroforestry in Action Webinar Series is a production of the Center for Agroforestry at the University of Missouri. Presentations in this webinar series explore topics in agroforestry from North America and around the globe, showcasing examples of excellence in practice and research. Live webinars are presented on a monthly basis and are free and open to all. Please see the live webinar schedule and register in advance to participate.
A new module on Agroforestry has just been added to the FAO Sustainable Forest Management Toolbox
In addition to an overview of Agroforestry, the module contain tools, case studies and further reading that FAO hopes will be useful to the different stakeholders dealing with agroforestry issues. The module is intended to be a living document and FAO would greatly appreciate any comments you might have on the text but more important are new case studies, tools and new publications that you would like to contribute with. More info Simone [dot] Borelli [at] fao [dot] org (here).
2nd International Meeting on Mediterranean Stone Pine for Agroforestry (AGROPINE 2016)
The 2nd International Meeting on Mediterranean Stone Pine for Agroforestry (AGROPINE 2016) will take place at Oeiras, Portugal, during 18th – 20th May 2016. The main objectives of AGROPINE 2016 are to connect the different researchers from the Mediterranean region, to update, share and transfer the current knowledge, to identify strategic research needs and partnership opportunities and to network and analyse the current state of stone pine culture and pine nuts markets. More info here.
International Conference on Conservation Agriculture and Sustainable Land Use
The International Conference on Conservation Agriculture and Sustainable Land Use will take place at Budapest, Hungary, during 31th May – 2nd June 2016. More info here.
2016 International Conference of the European Society for Soil Conservation (ESSC)
The 2016 International Conference of the European Society for Soil Conservation (ESSC) will take place at Cluj Napoca, Romania, during 15th – 18th June 2016. The 2016 ESSC International Conference is a great opportunity for Soil Scientists to stimulate deep reflections on the importance of the soil resource for the humankind. More info here.
12th European IFSA (International Farming Systems Association) Symposium
The 12th European IFSA Symposium will take place at Harper Adams University, Shropshire, UK during 12th - 15th July 2016. The theme of the Symposium will be: "Social and technological transformation of farming systems: Diverging and converging pathways". More info here.
EcoSummint 2016, Ecological Sustainability: Engineering Change
The 5th International EcoSummit Congress will take place at The Corum Convention Center, Montpellier, France during 29th August - 1st September 2016. More info here.
World Congress Silvo - Pastoral Systems 2016
The World Congress Silvo-Pastoral Systems 2016 will take place in Évora, Portugal during 27th – 30th September 2016. The theme of the Congress will be “Silvo-Pastoral Systems in a changing world: functions, management and people”. More info here.
Public Consultation on “A renewed Modernisation Agenda for Higher Education in the European Union”
Deadline: 27/11/2015 – 29/02/2016
More info here.
Public Consultation on “Experience with the first year of application of the greening obligations under the direct payment scheme (Common Agricultural Policy)”
Deadline: 15/12/2015 – 08/03/2016
More info here.
Public Consultation on “Consultation on the functioning of the Auctioning Regulation pursuant to the scheme for greenhouse gas emission allowances trading within the Community (EU ETS)”
Deadline: 22/12/2015 – 15/03/2016
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.
This newsletter is carried out in collaboration with the European AGFORWARD Project.
Editors-In-Chief: Nuria Ferreiro-Domínguez and María Rosa Mosquera-Losada
Editorial Committee: Rosa Mosquera Losada, Gerry Lawson, Jeroen Watté, Adolfo Rosati, Sylvène Laborie-Roussel, Joana Amaral Paulo, Bert Reubens, Bohdan Lojka, Alain Canet, Xavier Devaux, Norbert Lamersdorf, Heinrich Spiecker, Konstantinos Mantzanas, Anastasia Pantera, Andrea Vityi, Andrea Pisanelli, Sami Kryeziu, Robert Borek, João Palma, Gerardo Moreno, Johanna Björklund, Felix Herzog, Mareike Jäger, Mark Vonk, Emiel Anssems, Jo Smith, Mike Strachan.
English Reviewer: Mercedes Rois-Díaz
Edition Place: Lugo (Spain)
- Towards 50% of farmers using agroforestry by 2025 -