The year 2018 is key to foster agroforestry in Europe at various political levels. The new CAP is moving, and the first legislative drafts may probably appear before summer 2018. The Direct Payments and Greening Civil Dialogue Group and the LEADER/CLLD meeting where María Rosa Mosquera-Losada and Eloi Villada were, were illustrative in showing how direct payments are going to be considered. Pillar I will be more objective based on its implementation, so knowledge about the main benefits including production and environment that different systems provide will be key to get payments with regard to sustainability. A better integration between Cross-compliance and Greening is fostered with payment for results as a key concept in the next CAP. A better integration between Pillar I and Pillar II through an Eco-scheme is also pursued. All these aspects were claimed by EURAF work in the AGFORWARD Project recommendations.
María Rosa Mosquera-Losada as AFINET coordinator and EURAF President attended several EU innovation meetings. The development of an innovative agriculture based on better extension services at European level is key for the European Commission to make agriculture more sustainable through main actor engagement, and above all farmers. New strategies based on the interaction among the different Thematic Networks to clearly identify synergies among different researchers and farmers are seen as important by the European Commission. Political innovation, education, and research are key aspects to enhance agroforestry implementation across Europe and the main topic to develop a European Agroforestry Strategy for the post 2020 CAP.
The 3rd Swedish Agroforestry Conference took place at the Swedish University of Agricultural Science at Alnarp, Sweden. The agroforestry systems presented during the conference included different scales of agroforestry on farms, as well as urban agroforestry and forest gardens. The aim with the conference was to be a forum for knowledge exchange between practitioners, researchers, advisors, decision makers and other stakeholders in Sweden, as well as abroad.
In total, the conference had around 200 participants, ranging from farmers and gardeners to researchers, students and advisors. From the feedback we got after the conference the participants were very happy to have met so many actors within the field and that the conference had facilitated cooperation among actors both nationally and internationally.
The interest for agroforestry is growing in Sweden, where there are some traditional silvopastoral systems with a long history, as well as new innovative systems, both on farm land and in gardens and cities. Many people that attended the conference strive towards becoming farmers themselves and are very interested in the integration of woody vegetation together with crop and/or animal production.
The conference was arranged by Agroforestry Sverige, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Örebro University, SIANI (Swedish International Agricultural Network Initiative), Focali (Forest Climate & Livelihood Research Network) and Agroforestry Network.
Figure 1: Roadmap of the 3rd Swedish Agroforestry Conference.
Source: Sara Furenhed (advisor in organic production at the Swedish Board of Agriculture), Oscar Franzén (Ekologiska Lantbrukarma) and François Warlop (Research Group for Organic Farming, Avignon, France).
Last decades, in the North Brabant province in the south of The Netherlands, agriculture was becoming more and more intensive. Many trees in Brabant disappeared from the agricultural landscape. In the urge to intensify and to enlarge the farms, trees were often seen as 'stand in the way'. The landscape, biodiversity but also the resilience of agriculture were affected. In recent years, however, there seems to be a change in Brabant. Last year’s little by little awareness has grown on the important role of trees in landscaping but also in the transition, diversification and sustainability of agriculture.
Declining soil fertility, reducing biodiversity and increasing economic pressures in the current agriculture are asking for a fundamental change of the system. That’s why farmer Wilco de Zeeuw, started his “Farminginnature” farm in Uden.
It is a diversified organic farm with 25 ha of arable land focusing on organic grain production and grazing area. He is working with hedges, with low and higher trees in alley cropping systems and he planted a food forest. See the map!
Figure 2: Map of the “Farminginnature” farm in Uden, The Netherlands.
His farm is in the center of the national park “Maashorst” in an agriculture enclave. In this part Wilco de Zeeuw wants to create synergy between nature and agriculture and between cattle and trees. The combination of trees and agriculture in one plot seems encouraging; in addition to a better efficiency agroforestry stimulates ecological processes and realizes the ecosystem services which are very welcome to the functioning of the national park.
However, Wilco de Zeeuw can’t survive without his own business model. He wants to produce his own grain mix or muesli; all kinds of grains, nuts and fruits together. He wants to develop 2 more or less equal trades; muesli and fruits but also a dairy component. He wants to sell all his products directly to the consumer.
Figure 3: Wilco de Zeeuw in his farm (“Farminginnature” farm, Uden, The Netherlands) and in a hazelnut plantation of a colleague.
In the most intensive province of The Netherlands the attention to agroforestry is strongly growing. About 50 farmers are making plans to integrate trees in their farm again. They are starting all kinds of agroforestry systems; nuts and fruits with cattle, chickens in orchards, pick your own food forest with pigs, etc.
Source: Piet Rombouts (EURAF National Sub-Delegate for The Netherlands), March 2018.
The regional agroforestry innovation networks (RAINs) of the AFINET (Agroforestry Innovation Networks) project met for the 2nd time in different European countries (Spain, Italy, Belgium, Hungary, Portugal, France, UK, Poland and Finland) during January and February 2018. The objectives of these 2nd RAINs meetings were: i) to further specify the identified bottlenecks from the 1st RAINs meetings carried out in mid-2017, ii) to prioritise the most important bottlenecks based on the results of a survey sent to all RAINs stakeholders before the 2nd RAINs meetings and iii) to create an initial list of innovations.
The Organic Research Centre (UK) developed its 2nd RAIN meeting as three sub-groups: i) trees and vegetables, ii) trees and livestock and iii) trees and arable (combinable crops). The participants in these meetings were pleased with the outcomes which were advertised as a window into AFINET and to develop a RAIN Group focussed on agroforestry and the benefit woody vegetation can bring to different farming systems. More info here.
The 2nd Spanish RAIN meeting organised by the University of Santiago de Compostela was focused on policy aspects (legal and administrative issues) since it was one of the most important topics highlighted by the stakeholders during the 1st Spanish RAIN meeting. In the afternoon, the RAIN members visited Bosques Naturales, a farm that combines walnut and cherry tree plantations with crops as maize and medicinal plants and with grazing sheep. More info here.
The topics presented and discussed during the 2nd Italian RAIN meeting organised by the National Research Council (CNR) were planned according to the results emerged during the 1st RAIN meeting which was focused on the olive multipurpose system taking into account the whole olive oil supply chain. The meeting ended with a farm visit where olive orchards are managed as silvopastoral systems with poultry free grazing. More info here.
The 2nd Belgian RAIN meeting organised by the Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (ILVO) was focused on the most important challenges identified during the 1st Belgian RAIN meeting (technical and economical aspects and chain development). Moreover, several experts on fruit and nut production were invited to the meeting to increase the knowledge on aspects as suitable varieties, agroforestry combinations, pruning or marketing opportunities. At the end of the day stakeholders could taste walnuts from a diverse collection of varieties.
The participants in the 2nd Polish RAIN meeting organised by the IUNG-PIB evaluated the avenues for agroforestry innovation under Polish conditions. All participants in the meeting agreed to promote agroforestry and take education activities based on the results of the AFINET project. More info here.
The 2nd Hungarian RAIN meeting was held in the campus of Szent István University, Faculty of Horticultural Sciences, Budapest. This 2nd RAIN meeting was linked to a joint event with the Hungarian Permaculture Association, and the Network of Carpathian Fruit Producers. In the first part of the meeting the three groups shared information on their activities, achievements, problems, challenges and proposed solutions. Four farmers presented their systems, practices, products, and marketing methods. The 2nd Hungarian RAIN meeting was held in the second half of the day, when the opinions of stakeholders were discussed.
The 2nd Portuguese RAIN meeting that took place at Instituto Superior de Agronomia (ISA) in Lisbon was organised in eight thematic sections, corresponding to the main bottlenecks identified by the RAIN during the 1st meeting on 12th September 2017 which favoured a fruitful discussion among the stakeholders. More info here.
The French Agroforestry Association hosted the 2nd French RAIN meeting. The agenda included a number of key aspects to be discussed, identified while working/exchanging with stakeholders since the 1st RAIN meeting: i) legal and administrative issues of integrating poplars on agricultural land, in association with crops and/or livestock, ii) technical aspects of managing poplars and crops together and ensuring quality of the final product, iii) financial support schemes to help farmers with the investment of planting/managing poplars on agricultural lands. More info here.
Finally, the 2nd Finnish RAIN meeting was held in the METLA-house of the European Forest Institute in Joensuu. 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 in an interactive workshop where the participants discussed about the costs and benefits of agroforestry and the political challenges. More info here.
Figure 4: Pictures taken during the second meetings of the Regional Agroforestry Innovation Networks in Spain, Italy, Poland, Portugal and Finland.
Source: Andrea Pisanelli (Innovation Broker from Italy, CNR-IBAF), Antia Villada (Innovation Broker from Spain, University of Santiago de Compostela), Bert Reubens (Innovation Broker from Belgium, ILVO), Fabien Balaguer (Innovation Broker from France, French Agroforestry Association), Joana Amaral Paulo (Innovation Broker from Portugal, University of Lisbon), Małgorzata Gałczyńska (Innovation Broker from Poland, Institute of Soil Science and Plant Cultivation), Michael den Herder (Innovation Broker from Finland, European Forest Institute), Nora Kiss-Szigeti (Innovation Broker from Hungary, University of Sopron), Sally Westaway (Innovation Broker from UK, Organic Research Centre), March 2018.
In January 2018 Mario Torralba and Ana Varga defended their PhD thesis on agroforestry in the Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management of the University of Copenhagen (Denmark) and in the Biological and Sportbiological Doctoral School of the University of Pécs (Hungary), respectively. These PhD thesis were carried out under the AGFORWARD project.
The title of the PhD thesis of Mario Torralba is “Analysis of ecosystem service supply, trade-offs and social-ecological interactions in European wood-pastures”. This thesis explores and analyzes the mechanisms and processes driving ecosystem service supply in European wood-pastures. In the first part of the thesis, the scientific literature was systematically reviewed to assess how the ecosystem service framework has been applied to European agroforestry systems and to identify the outcomes of these assessments. The results were used to identify the generality of existing case-study findings and the presence of large scale patterns; to detect methodological, theoretical and knowledge gaps, and to provide insights into future research on European agroforestry. In the second part of the thesis, the focus was on a specific wood-pasture dominated landscape in the Southwest of Spain, where diverse biophysical and sociocultural approaches were employed to assess ecosystem service supply and demand at the farm and landscape scales. First, through semi-structured interviews with wood-pasture owners and managers, the relationship between ecosystem service provision and wood-pasture management was explored, which identified trade-offs and bundles of ecosystem services. Special emphasis was put on the influence of farm size, land tenure, vegetation structure diversity and wood-pasture accessibility policy on landowners’ management decisions. Then, a public participation GIS approach was used to map the spatial distribution, patterns and intensities of ecosystem services perception by local inhabitants. These were used to explore the differences between different groups of inhabitants, as well as to identify the linkages between how landscape is used and perceived, and the influence of the former on subjective well-being. In the last part of the thesis, all previous work was integrated into a cross-site social-ecological analysis of ecosystem services supply and trade-offs in four distinctive oak-based wood-pasture dominated landscapes (Östergötland in Sweden, Southern Transylvania in Romania, Llanos de Trujillo in Spain and La Serena in Spain). A differentiated pattern of ecosystem service supply was found in the four study areas, which is governed by four main wood-pasture management dimensions that generate trade-offs of ecosystem services. It was further demonstrated that decisions concerning these management dimensions are determined by complex interactions between the properties of the social-ecological system, which have a direct influence on managers’ perspectives and motivations. More info available here.
Figure 5: Picture of the PhD thesis cover of Mario Torralba taken in one of the AGFORWARD project study areas in Trujillo, Cáceres, Western Spain.
The title of the PhD thesis of Ana Varga is “Lanscape historical, ethnoecological and nature conservation analysis of the Hungarian silvopastoral systems”. In this PhD thesis, Ana Varga provides a comprehensive picture on the silvopastoral systems in Hungary including their historical changes over time, and to take account of the current situation of wood-pastures in terms of landscape ecology and nature conservation, as well as, in particular, of the related traditional ecological knowledge. In this PhD thesis it has been determined that: i) wood pastures, shrubs, forests and forest edges played a significant role in cattle, sheep and pig farming as major habitat types used for traditional pastoralism in the Carpathian-basin during the period between 1940 and 2014, ii) a GIS database for the currently existing wood pastures in Hungary was prepared, iii) woody, forested grazing practices have played an essential role in land use patterns forest and grassland management in the past 200 years nationwide, iv) three major historical turns occurred in the life of wooded-forested pasturing systems at the national level (the separation of grazing land from forested areas, abandonment and renewed utilisation of such areas), v) the available data describe the practical significance and systematic application of husbandry in details, but they are not suitable to reconstruct exactly the impacts such activities exerted on the vegetation, vi) relying upon the collection of the still existing traditional ecological knowledge and the analysis of historical sources in landscape history it was revealed in details what determining impact by “human use” as specified in the P45 Á-NÉR definition actually means in the case of the wood pastures, vii) traditional ecological knowledge applicable to wood pastures is a surviving form of vernacular information up to date, held and handed down mainly by traditional herders. More info available here.
Figure 6: Study areas of the PhD thesis of Ana Varga carried out in Hungary.
Source: Mario Torralba (University of Copenhagen, Denmark) and Ana Varga (University of Pécs, Hungary).
The 2nd European Symposium on Pollarding was held in Sare, France from the 1st to the 3rd of March 2018. It was organised by the French Agroforestry Association (AFAF), Euskal Herriko Laborantza Ganbara (EHLG), Maison Botanique de Boursay and Arbre et Paysage 32, with support from the European Agroforestry Federation (EURAF), the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and the Organic Research Centre (ORC). The purpose of this symposium was to establish a better understanding of the potential of pollarding practices for sustainable and resilient landscapes, and to showcase examples of concrete developments on the ground. Speakers presented experiences from across Europe (and beyond) in order to provide the audience with the necessary tools to design and manage efficient systems at multiple scales, and (re)integrate pollards and their products in the farm's economy.
The symposium also provided practical experiences through 4 workshops dealing with the creation of new pollards, current and future perspectives for mechanisation of management operations, woodchip for animal bedding, and the restoration of old pollards.
The meeting was attended by over 250 delegates from a wide array of profiles and more than 10 countries (France, Spain, United Kingdom, Belgium, Italy, Sweden, USA, Netherland, Morocco, etc.), showing a keen interest in the subject. Presentations were simultaneously translated between French, English and Basque.
The event was closed by a round table with practitioners, researchers, and decision makers. The subject was: "The road ahead: what future for pollards and what means of action?" Policy, technical and financial aspects were discussed.
This event aimed at encouraging the return of pollards in the agricultural (and political) landscapes. The high level of contributions and exchanges was a testimony that this objective is on the way, and that pollards provide many opportunities for advanced agroforestry developments. Nevertheless, there is still a wealth of questions to be explored and no magic pill for pollards. There is a simple answer to the question, “how to support the future of pollards in Europe's rural landscapes?” Namely, reinforce the network of practitioners and researchers, enhance partnerships, and work through the society component (farmers, advisors, institutions, policy makers, citizens etc.). Just what EURAF and its members are here for!
Figure 7: Machinery demonstration and practical presentations at the Second European Symposium on Pollarding in Sare, France.
Source: Fabien Balaguer (EURAF Treasurer), and Jo Smith (EURAF National Delegate for UK) March 2018.
4th European Agroforestry Conference
The 4th European Agroforestry Conference “Agroforestry as Sustainable Land Use” 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 would use the economic and environmental benefits that agroforestry offers. Farmers are more than welcome to 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) Agroforestry Policies, 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 and xiii) Education and tools to investigate agroforestry.
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. More info here.
Principal Researcher and Livestock Team Leader
The Organic Research Centre is looking to appoint a Principal Researcher/Team Leader for its Livestock Research Team. The post will report to the Deputy Director Programmes and be responsible for all areas of the programme including delivery, development and dissemination of the research as well as management and development of staff. The closing date for application is 16th April 2018 at 10am. More info here.
Agroforestry Workshop International, Germany
This Agroforestry Workshop International will take place in Nürtingen, Germany during 11th - 15th June 2018. The workshop includes five days lectures in agroforestry concerns, practical work/ excursions, artwork and personal encounter. More info coming soon.
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 Production 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.
German Forum on Agroforestry
The German Forum on agroforestry, i.e. the “6. Forum Agroforstsysteme”, entitled “Brücken Bilden - Agroforst als Bestandteil einer zukunftsgerechten und regional angepassten Landnutzung - Status quo, Bedarf und Perspektiven“ will take place in Göttingen, Germany on the 9th and 10th of October 2018. For further details please see the Forum website or write an e-mail to Leonie Göbel (agroforstforum2018 [at] gmail [dot] com (agroforstforum2018 [at] gmail [dot] com)). Guests are highly welcome!
4th World Congress on Agroforestry
The 4th World Congress on Agroforestry “Agroforestry: Strengthening links between science, society and policy” will take place in Montpellier, France during 20th – 25th May 2019. The overall objective of the Congress is to contribute to the strengthening of agroforestry science and practice in order to provide opportunities for strengthening links between science, society and policy and to bridge the science-policy gap. More info here.
This is your newsletter! If there’s anything you think should be included, please send suggestions to info [at] eurafagroforestry [dot] eu (info [at] eurafagroforestry [dot] eu) for the next issue
This newsletter is carried out in collaboration with the European AFINET Project
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, Piet Rombouts, 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 -