The interest in the event, which took place for the first time in Bavaria, was overwhelming with 200 participants. Since 2009 the Forum Agroforestry Systems, which takes place every two years, sees itself as a platform for practice, research and consulting in agroforestry and is regarded as the most important event on this topic in German-speaking countries.
The Bavarian State Research Centre for Agriculture (LfL), the Bavarian State Institute of Forestry (LWF), the Chair for Strategic Landscape Planning and Management of the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the Centre for Forest, Wood and Forestry Weihenstephan jointly invited to the event. Under the motto "A look at the big picture! Innovative land use with diverse functions in the cultural landscape", scientists, consultants and practitioners from Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic and Switzerland discussed the latest trends and findings in agroforestry. The great interest among the students was particularly gratifying.
The presidents of LfL, Jakob Opperer, and LWF, Olaf Schmidt, opened the conference. Prof. Dr. Alois Heißenhuber, a Weihenstephan legend, gave a stirring keynote on the topic “Agriculture of the future – productive, environmentally compatible and socially compatible”. The focus of the 40 presentations and posters was on various ecological, economic, landscape design, plant cultivation and production technology aspects – keeping with the tradition of the Centre of Life and Food Sciences Weihenstephan – as well as on the topic of governance and law.
The Bavarian activities in agroforestry could be seen in several presentations and posters covered in the research report of the LfL and LWF, "Establishment and growth performance of fast-growing trees for production of wood biomass for energy utilisation in organic farming", still hot off the press.
Practical experience reports covered agroforestry systems in arable farming to enhance wind and erosion protection, acorn-fattening with old pig breeds for the production of premium ham, which tasted yummy y the way, or animal welfare optimized forms of chicken husbandry, to name but a few.
Christian Böhm presented the German Association for Agroforestry (Deutscher Fachverband für Agroforstwirtschaft e.V. – DeFAF) and informed about the activities in the past year. EURAF and its latest activities were presented by Rico Hübner. Thus, the representatives of the authorities and various political parties attending could see how other EU member states successfully put agroforestry into practice within the framework of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
During the breaks, various service providers, public and private extension service agents and tree nurseries presented themselves in the "market place". On the second day, a workshop on the planning of agroforestry systems was offered to a smaller group. The excursions led to the organic farm Kreitmair with elderberry cultivation and processing, the hazelnut farm Neumeier and the organic family farm of Sepp Braun with dual-purpose chickens (Les Bleues), details in the last newsletter as a featured farm.
Overall, a big success and the organizers would like to express their thanks for the active participation and hope that agroforestry in Germany will continue to grow and prosper and that the political course will be set in the right direction.