ROBUST - Forest Farming: a sustainable agricultural system for crop and dairy production

Website: 

Please visit www.robust-skovlandbrug.dk for more information about the project.

Role of EURAF: 

The project is coordinated by EURAF National Delagate for Denmark: Julie Rohde Birk.

The project Forest Farming - A Sustainable Farming System for Crop and Milk Production (ROBUST) is implemented from 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2024 in collaboration with the organic farms Nyborggaard, Ellinglund, Sommerbjerg and Forum Østergaard; Them Andelsmejeri; Skovdyrkerne; Center for Frilandsdyr K/S; Sinatur Hotel og Konference; University of Copenhagen, Department of Food and Resource Economics and Department of Earth Sciences and Nature Management.

The aim of the project is to develop, investigate and disseminate forest farming in Denmark; a system whereby woody plants are grown in combination with agricultural production on the same area to ensure more sustainable production. The project develops, establishes and demonstrates forest farming systems on crop and dairy farms and documents the effects of forest farming on carbon storage, nitrogen leaching, other crops and livestock feed value and welfare. At the same time, the project models the effects of scaling up forest farming and highlights the business potential of forest farming.

Background: The background to the project is a strong need for the sustainable use of the earth's resources. Globally, at EU level and in Denmark, there are demands for agricultural production to be holistic and to contribute to the provision of green public goods. The project contributes to meeting this challenge. The project deals with the production system of forest agriculture. Forest farming is defined as a system where woody plants are grown in combination with agricultural production on the same area.

International research shows that by including trees in agricultural production it is possible to reduce the climate footprint and at the same time achieve other positive ecological effects such as reduced N leaching, increased nature value and more fertile soil. Overall, this paves the way for more sustainable food production. Forestry can also improve animal welfare in livestock production and increase the resilience of agricultural production, both economically and against extreme weather events. The effects suggest that forestry can improve the impact of agriculture on many of the green parameters on which agriculture can currently have a negative impact. In addition, recent market analysis shows that there is demand for more sustainable products. The development of more economically sustainable agricultural production is essential if the industry is to increase its competitiveness and create added value. The multifunctionality of forestry can meet these market demands.

Objectives: The project aims to develop, research and disseminate forest farming in Denmark. To document the impact of forest farming on:

  • C-storage in soil and wood mass;
  • N leaching, nature value;
  • competition with crops;
  • feed value of leaf biomass and animal welfare;
  • to develop, establish and demonstrate agroforestry systems on crop and dairy farms;
  • t elucidate the business potential of forestry;
  • to model the effects of scaling up forestry.

Funding: ROBUST is supported by the Green Development and Demonstration Programme (GUDP) of the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries and the Organic Farming Fund.

Contact: The project is coordinated by Organic Denmark, gro Food Park 15 - 8200 Aarhus N

Website: www.okologi.dk

Mail: info [at] okologi [dot] dk

Coordinator: Julie Rohde Birk, jur at okologi.dk