Factsheets

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Why plant asparagus?

High yielding olive trees need plenty of light and need to be spaced apart. Hence both traditional and super-high-density orchards intercept no more than 50-55% of the sunlight. The rest will fall on the ground and encourage weeds. Why, then, not plant another crop you can sell under the trees, to use that light?

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Why do we need new systems for the production of chestnut?

Agroforestry with chestnut (Castanaea sativa Miller) is a traditional land use system in the eastern part of the Lugo province in Galicia, North West Spain. Although chestnut groves are rarely intercropped (due to the low understorey production) or grazed (due to the fear of tree damage), the groves create a finegrained mosaic of land uses including cropland and forests. However, where high slopes make chestnut harvesting unprofitable, pig grazing does occur during the autumn and winter. Chestnut woodlands are also one of the best habitats for the commercial production of edible mushrooms.

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Why graze pigs in chestnut stands?

Before ink disease destroyed trees growing below 400 m above sea level, chestnut stands had been the most broadly distributed tree in Galicia (NW Spain). Currently, chestnut stands occupy over 60,000 ha in Galicia, mainly located in the eastern mountainous areas of Ancares-Caurel Natural Park, where close to 100 varieties are still growing and providing chestnut fruits. However, the orography with steep slopes renders the harvest of chestnut fruit unprofitable due to the high labour cost.

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Why introduce livestock?

There is a high demand for hardwood timber, such as hybrid walnut, in the EU. To meet this demand, over the last decade, hardwood plantations have substantially increased production in many Spanish regions. Intensive management is often required to grow these trees in short rotations. Such management comprises irrigation, fertilisation, and chemical weed control. However, this level of management has high economic and environmental costs. Plantation management accounts for more than 45% of the total investment costs. Moreover, these operations can have major environmental impacts, similar to the effects of intensive agriculture systems.

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Why use GPS collars in reindeer husbandry?

The use of a GPS tracking system has led to a change in the labour process of reindeer husbandry, as the herd can be monitored and followed remotely on computers. It increases knowledge about migration routes and use of grazing areas as the movements are registered by the tracking devices. With the aid of the GPS tracking system, vehicle mileage could be reduced and predator attacks on the herd can be detected at an early stage. These attacks are a very serious concern for Sami herdsmen due to economic lossesThe forest management in the area consisted of compartment cuttings with a rotation period of about 100-130 years.

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Grazing and biodiversity

Extensively managed wood-pastures are considered archetypes of traditional farming landscapes with high natural and cultural values in Europe. The livestock type used for grazing, as well as the structural features on the pastures, influences the biodiversity value of pastures. Scattered trees and shrubs were valued for their fruits, shade for livestock, beneficial effects on grassland and their beauty.

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The value of large old trees in pastures

Maintaining high biodiversity in production landscapes is a key conservation challenge. 

Large old trees are keystone structures, conferring high ecological value to pastures. The hollowing parts, the ageing bark and the dry stems, while being biological and ecological legacies, create a wide diversity of habitats for many organisms.

 

 

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Why restore abandoned wood pastures?

Wood pastures with high nature and cultural value (HNCV) have been present in Hungary for thousands of years. Currently, there are 33,318 hectares of HNCV wood pasture in Hungary: 28% is in protected areas and 60% in EU Natura 2000.

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Why restore ancient waterways?

In the past, flood-prone lowlands in Germany were adapted for agricultural land use through the installation of small waterways to improve drainage. The excess sediment from the waterways was used to develop raised areas. Planting trees on these elevated areas resulted in the development of a small-scale mosaic agroforestry system, rich in biodiversity.

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