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Newsletter N°18, July 2016


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2.1 Agroforestry Event in Flanders, Belgium 

2.2 Meeting of the Working Group on Agroforestry Systems of the Spanish Society of Forest Sciences (SECF)

3. FEATURED FARM: COPORCEL, Celtic Pigs in Silvopastoral Systems in Galicia (NW Spain) 








EURAF activities promoting agroforestry has been really intensive in the last two months. After the 3rd European Agroforestry Conference, National delegates went to different events across Europe. Emi Velinzanova and Vania Kachova went to the 7th European Evaluation Conference “The result Orientation Cohesion Policy at Work” to defend agroforestry as a traditional system improving the use of natural resources in Eastern countries. Josep Crous-Durán and Gerry Lawson went to the Civil Dialogue Group (CDG) on Forest and Cork and Gerry Lawson and Rosa Mosquera-Losada explained the role of the agroforestry practices mitigating and adapting agricultural systems to climate change in the Environment and Climate Change CDG. The evaluation of the agroforestry practices within the 2007-2013 Rural Development programs were discussed in Palermo by Gerry Lawson, Javier Santiago-Freijanes and Rosa Mosquera-Losada within the event “Methods for assessing impacts of Rural Development Programmes 2007-2013 practices and solutions for the ex post-evaluation” organized by the Evaluation sub-group of the European Network of Rural Development institution, which showed excellent examples of different techniques for policy evaluation considering quantitative and qualitative analysis.

Agroforestry was recognized as an excellent tool to be promoted as part of the future agenda and as an innovation to be enhanced across different countries by Rosa Mosquera-Losada in the different working groups of the Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture (GACSA) meeting organized by the FAO in Rome, but also by Anastasia Pantera in the meeting “Changing our Mindsets - Seizing Opportunities in the Green Economy” held in Brussels. The role that agroforestry has to play within the food safety global concept was highlighted by Jeroen Watte in the “IPES-Food Policy Lab 1, The Agriculture Food Health nexus in the EU” last 27th June.

Fabien Balaguer together with Rosa Mosquera-Losada made a one-hour presentation showing the general benefits with particular examples in the last Arable Crop CDG, which raised many questions from the audience. The participants of this CDG asked for specific examples of using agroforestry practices and the role they have in the arable fields. Farmers highlighted that there is a need for detailed quantification of the benefits of agroforestry in their farms from a productive but also from an environmental point of view. Part of these questions can be answered by the recently approved EU H2020 project “Agroforestry Innovation Network (AFINET)”, which is a thematic network lead by the University of Santiago de Compostela in collaboration with EURAF and other European institutions. 


Source: María Rosa Mosquera Losada (EURAF President), July 2016.





2.1 Agroforestry Event in Flanders, Belgium

On the 16th June 2016, the project consortium "Agroforestry in Flanders" organized its annual event to inform stakeholders on the opportunities of agroforestry. Every year, the event focuses on a different sector, and this time particular attention was given to agroforestry opportunities for the poultry sector. Fifty persons participated, among which many farmers, policy advisors, researchers, and arborists. Bert Reubens (ILVO), national delegate for EURAF and coordinator of the "Agroforestry in Flanders" project, opened the event, explaining more about agroforestry in general and the effects to be expected. He presented the first results of the PhD research of Paul Pardon (which were also presented during the EURAF conference in Montpellier), focusing on the interactions between trees, yield and quality of the intercrops, soil quality, and functional agrobiodiversity in agroforestry systems relevant for the Flemish farming conditions. Subsequently, presentations were given on the subsidies (under sub-measure 8.2), the legal aspects and the opportunity for farmers to make use of the individual guidance provided through the "Agroforestry in Flanders" project. 

Besides the presentations, the participants were given the opportunity to join a field visit to an organic poultry holding nearby (Figure 1), where Daniël van Kesteren started last year with agroforestry in the free range habitat. Chickens are originally real forest dwellers that avoid open spaces. Trees and shrubs will invite them to move away from the poultry stable and make better use of the free range habitat as they feel safer. This has several advantages. On the one hand, the natural behavior of the chickens will be stimulated and stress will be reduced, while on the other hand point pollution close to the poultry stable will be decreased, as the chicken manure will be distributed more proportionately. Furthermore, the poultry stable is better integrated in the landscape, and the trees and shrubs create a positive image for poultry farmers. The plantation plan is visualized in Figure 1. In the free range habitat, a distance of 10 m was kept from the poultry house before starting the 10 m long hedgerows. These hedgerows will guide the chickens to the trees and shrubs, which have been planted another 10 m from the hedgerows (thus 30 m from the stable). In order to make sure that the chickens maintain a view on their stable, the hedgerows, trees and shrubs have been planted perpendicular on the stable. Hedgerow, tree and shrub species have been chosen based on the soil conditions and legal aspects. 


 Figure 1: Field visit at the organic poultry holding of Daniël van Kesteren and plantation plan of the organic poultry holding.


To conclude, the presence and enthusiasm of the farmers present during this information event indicates a growing interest for agroforestry in Flanders. Next September, farmers can register for the subsidies, after which we will learn more about the success of this information event and the efforts of the ‘Agroforestry in Flanders’ consortium to inform farmers about agroforestry and to guide them in their agroforestry projects.

More information: feel free to contact info [at] agroforestryvlaanderen [dot] be (info [at] agroforestryvlaanderen [dot] be)


Source: Bert Reubens (EURAF National Delegate for Belgium), July 2016.


2.2 Meeting of the Working Group on Agroforestry Systems of the Spanish Society of Forest Sciences (SECF)

On 21st - 22nd June took place in Solsona (Lleida, Spain) the V Meeting of the Working Group on Agroforestry Systems of the Spanish Society of Forest Sciences (SECF), under the theme “Agroforestry systems: sustainability and advances in silvoarable and silvopastoral systems”. The meeting was organized by the Forest Sciences Centre of Catalonia (CTFC), Forest Ownership Centre of Catalonia (CPF) and the Spanish Society of Forest Sciences (SECF) and brought together representatives from the public administrations, private companies, researchers, managers and practitioners from all over Spain. The meeting also counted with researchers from France. 

The first day of the meeting, several scientific sessions took place in which information on the last legal, organizational and knowledge outcomes related to the agroforestry systems was exchanged, with a particular focus on Spain. The second day, the participants in the meeting enjoyed in different field tours organized by the CTFC and CPF teams. The participants visited different experiences of agroforestry systems established on private farms in the central region of Catalonia.

The meeting also witnessed the first meeting of the Spanish Agroforestry Association (AGFE).


 Figure 2: Some pictures taken during the V Meeting of the Working Group on Agroforestry Systems of the Spanish Society of Forest Sciences.


Source: Nuria Ferreiro Domínguez (University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain) and Jaime Coello (Centre Tecnològic Forestal de Catalunya, Spain), July 2016.


 3. FEATURED FARM: COPORCEL, Celtic Pigs in Silvopastoral Systems in Galicia (NW Spain)



The breed Celtic Pig (Porco Celta) was the most important swine breed in Galicia (NW Spain) until the beginning of the last century, when there was an important population decline, mainly due to importing other breeds with faster growth and higher performance. In the 80s, the Porco Celta was close to extinction with very few animals. Through various recovery programs of genetic heritage, preservation of the environment and the added value of high quality products, the population of this autochthonous breed starts to recover from early 2000.

The rusticity of this local breed allows a perfect adaptation to the conditions of native Galician forests, making that animals can be kept in extensive or semi-extensive regime, providing a product of exceptional quality. The pigs are feeding mainly on chestnuts and acorns, improving their intramuscular fat and the content of high levels of fatty acids, e.g. omega-3 and oleic acids and decreasing the level of cholesterol, offering a succulent, tender and aromatic meat. At the same time the free ranging and feeding contributes to control the growing biomass (Ulex sp., Pteridium aquilinum L.) decreasing the forest fires risk in a region prone to wildfires. There is usually a complementary feed based on organic cereals as there are no acorns and chestnuts all year round.

COPORCEL company was established in 2010 with the aim of promoting the commercialization of the derived products of the Porco Celta. It owns a main holding in Triacastela (Lugo, Galicia, NW Spain) and has agreements with other forest owners of Galicia (e.g. in Cañiza and Porto do Son) that raise the pigs in their communal forests of chestnuts and oaks, with integrated assisted reproduction farms. The production consists on rearing animals, piglets and pig butchering and preparation of meat products (fresh and cured). In total, they own in total close to 1,000 animals, thus they are the main producers of this breed in Spain, which is one of the few breeds recognized as Autochthonous Breed by the Spanish Government. 


 Figure 3: Celtic Pigs in Galician forest.


Regional gourmet stores and prestigious restaurants offer nowadays Porco Celta among their products. Also international markets are demanding their products. Currently there is a high demand of this quality meat contrasting with the yet limited production. The main limiting factors are the lack of homogeneity, between farms, that the processing industry needs and the stability in production over the years and seasons.

Furthermore, COPORCEL invests in R&D projects, partly with public funds, very decisive for the development of the Porco Celta breeding.

More info: and info [at] coporcel [dot] es (info [at] coporcel [dot] es)


Source: Source: Miguel Ángel Negral Fernández (M.Sc. on Forestry, member of COPORCEL), July 2016. 





On the 20th July, the European Commission’s DG CLIMA published proposals for sharing the EU’s 2030 Greenhouse Gas (GHG) 40% reduction target between Member States (MS) and integrating “Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry” (LULUCF) into the EU Climate & Energy Framework.

The proposals allow Member States (MS) to transfer some of the carbon credits from LULUCF to help meet their GHG reduction targets in the Effort Sharing Regulation (Figure 4), but the transfer is modest (280 Mt CO2eq over the period 2021-2030 or 6% of estimated non-CO2 emissions from agriculture for the same period). This leaves around 170 Mt CO2eq/year from LULUCF which is not used to meet GHG reduction targets. Almost all countries in the world plan to fully account for carbon sequestration in the land use sector, at least according to their UNFCCC COP21 Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). One option for the EU could have been to increase its overall reduction target and include LULUCF in full? 


Figure: The three pillars of the EU Climate and Energy Strategy (ETS, ESR and LULUCF) showing predicted annual fluxes of GHG (Mt CO2 equivalent/year) over the decade 2021 - 2030 (from EU Reference Scenario for 2025) and transfers between pillars. The 28Mt annual transfer from LULUCF to ESR is only for net sinks generated by afforestation and reforestation and for agricultural land management (i.e. not Forest Management for the moment). Note the complications caused by the LULUCF reporting rules - where agricultural non-CO2 gases are reported differently to the CO2 component. This led IPCC in 2006 to recommend replacing LULUCF by a fully integrated land use pillar called Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU).


Including LULUCF/AFOLU fully in post-2020 accounting would make it easier to incentivise farmers and forest owners to take GHG mitigation actions themselves. Most “climate-smart” measures (like agroforestry) involve carbon sequestration and are reported through LULUCF, but others reduce emissions of methane or nitrous oxide and are reported, and eventually accounted, through the Effort Sharing Decision/Regulation. Two different reporting methods make little sense at the farm level, where an integrated approach is needed. MS therefore need to develop GIS systems where agricultural and forest emissions can be calculated for each owner, and net emissions “upscaled” to the regional and national level. Fortunately the GIS system used by MS and farmers to check eligibility for CAP direct payments (the “IACS/LPIS”) has the resolution needed and could be merged with LULUCF/AFOLU reporting. After 2020 it could be used to predict GHG balance sheets for farmers, or groups of farmers, as part of the Rural Development Programmes in the next CAP. Unfortunately this emphasis on how to truly incentivise individual farmers and forest owners was missing from the last week´s proposals (See full article here).



Source: Gerry Lawson (Forest Translation, Swindon, UK) and Nathan de Baets (Ecoresources, Quebec QC G1N 1S6, Canada), July 2016.





Transatlantic Agroforestry

Adolfo Rosati, former Deputy Secretary of EURAF Executive Committee and currently Deputy National Delegate for Italy has been awarded a Fulbright scholarship for a year of study at the Agroforestry Center of the University of Missouri. This project, titled "Transatlantic Agroforestry" will not only advance scientific aspects on temperate Agroforestry, but also strengthen the links between the European and North American agroforestry associations and organizations.


Life in Syntropy: the story of a transformation

“Life in Syntropy” is a short film that was screened at the Paris climate talks. It tells the story of Brazilian farmer Ernst Gotsch, who bought completely deforested land and transformed it into a remarkably biodiverse farm that reverses climate change by sequestering carbon.


How to leave industrial agriculture behind: food systems experts urge for a global shift towards agroecology

The International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food), led by Olivier De Schutter, former UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, released its findings in a report titled “From Uniformity to Diversity: A paradigm shift from industrial agriculture to diversified agroecological systems”.


Annual Meeting of the Farm Woodland Forum

The Farm Woodland Forum (which has members mainly in the UK and Ireland) held its annual meeting at Ballyhaise Agricultural College, Co Cavan. Ireland during 21st – 23rd June 2016. It was attended by around 60 members and guests, and included sessions on a) forestry training and education, b) farm woodland management, c) agroforestry and climate change, and d) policy and knowledge transfer. Field visits were organised near Ballyhaise by Teagasc and at Loughgall in Northern Ireland by AFBI, and thanks go to both organisations for their excellent hospitality.


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 well in advance to participate. 


EcoSummit 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.


14th European Rural Development Network Conference

The 14th European Rural Development Network Conference will take place in Budapest, Hungary during 3rd – 5th October 2016. The focus of the conference will be on successful farms, rural innovation and its impacts, agri-food chains and related environmental, policy and knowledge sharing issues. The conference programme will also include a workshop of the EU FP7 VALERIE project (‘Valorizing European Research for Innovation in Agriculture and Forestry’). 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, Joana Amaral Paulo, Anastasia Pantera, Fabien Balaguer, Jeroen Watté, Bert Reubens, Olivier BaudryBohdan Lojka, Alain Canet, Xavier Devaux, Norbert Lamersdorf, Heinrich Spiecker, Konstantinos Mantzanas, Andrea Vityi, Andrea Pisanelli, Adolfo Rosati, Sami Kryeziu, Robert Borek, João Palma, Josep Crous Duran, Teresa Baiges, Manuel Bertomeu, Johanna Björklund, Felix Herzog, Mareike Jäger, Mark Vonk, Emiel Anssems, Jo Smith, Mike Strachan, Nuria Ferreiro-Domínguez, Mercedes Rois-Díaz.

English Reviewer: Mercedes Rois-Díaz

This Newsletter is edited in Lugo (Spain) by EURAF (ISSN 2445-2556)



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