The second Finnish Regional Agroforestry Innovation Network meeting was held on the 12th of February in the METLA-house in Joensuu. The meeting was hosted by Michael den Herder (Innovation Broker) and Henri Vanhanen from the Natural Resources Institute Finland.
Twelve stakeholders (farmers, advisors, researchers) attended the meeting. During the morning session there were presentations on the climate change mitigation and adaptation potential of agroforestry, costs of establishing forest pastures and opportunities for support, and how young regenerating forest can be managed by grazers saving costs for feed and early forest thinning operations.
The afternoon session was focussed on finding solutions to the challenges which came out as a result of the first series of RAIN meetings which took place across Europe in the summer of 2017. In the interactive workshop, the participants noted that information on the costs and benefits of agroforestry would be highly appreciated. The participants also said that despite being a very old practice, people do not know agroforestry.
To promote this practice in Finland, it would be very important to provide more information to schoolchildren, students, farmers and the general public. The participants also discussed political challenges. Participants felt that agroforestry can play a major role in reducing climate change impacts and adapting our agricultural systems to the changing climate. If we would practice more agroforestry, more carbon would be stored in agricultural land which helps in reducing emissions from the agricultural sector. Next summer, there are plans to hold two Finnish RAIN workshops: One in southern Finland on the potential of alley cropping and one in eastern Finland on woodland grazing.
More info on the Finnish RAIN: https://www.facebook.com/AFINETSUOMI/