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AGFORWARD News: August 2015
Agroforestry for Europe
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In this Newsletter:

Introduction

Agroforestry at EXPO 2015 in September

First progress report

Paper on wood-pastures

Crop-livestock-forest systems in Brazil

Second general assembly for AGFORWARD

Research protocols on high cultural and nature value agroforestry

Research on intercropping and grazing in orchards and with other high value trees

Research protocols on agroforestry for arable farms

Research protocols on agroforestry for livestock farms

AGFORWARD on Facebook

Contact Details

Subscription Details


Introduction

Greetings from a wet and cool UK and welcome to the August 2015 newsletter from the AGFORWARD research project (2014-2017), sponsored by the European Union FP7 programme. The first item publicises the Agroforestry Day at EXPO 2015 in Milan on Saturday 12 September. Please make it if you can.

The next three items are a progress report on the first year of the project, a paper published on European wood pastures, and details of a congress in Brazil which outlined plans to create 4 million hectares of crop-livestock-forest systems in Brazil by 2020. This is followed by a brief report on our second general assembly in June.

In the AGFORWARD project, each of 38 stakeholder agroforestry groups have now uploaded their individual research and development protocols to the AGFORWARD website. The activities include on-farm demonstrations and replicated experiments. If you can support a group near you, please e-mail the relevant contact person.

Lastly here is a date for your diary in 2016. AGFORWARD will be working with the European Agroforestry Federation and INRA at the Third European Agroforestry Conference taking place in Montpellier in France from 25 to 27 May 2016. It will be a great event; I hope that you will be able to attend or even contribute.

With best wishes,
Paul Burgess
AGFORWARD Project Co-ordinator


Agroforestry at EXPO 2015 in September

The theme of EXPO 2015, being held in Milan, is "Feeding the Planet: Energy for Life". The European Agroforestry Federation, working with AGFORWARD, has organised an Agroforestry Event at the EXPO on Saturday 12 September 2015. Speakers are planned from the FAO, the European Commission, and from across Europe. The day will explain how agroforestry can contribute to improved food, fibre and energy security in Europe whilst enhancing the environment. If you are looking for a reason to visit EXPO 2015, please register and attend!


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First progress report

A report on the first year of the AGFORWARD project (January to December 2014), which was submitted to the European Commission in February 2015 has been approved. The report describing the progress across each work-package in the project is available on the AGFORWARD website.


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Paper on wood-pastures

AGFORWARD researchers: Tobias Plieninger, Tibor Hartel, and Gerardo Moreno have recently co-authored a paper entitled "Wood-pastures of Europe: geographic coverage, social–ecological values, conservation management, and policy implications" in the journal "Biological Conservation". Biological Conservation has made the paper freely available on their website until 14 November 2015.


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Crop-livestock-forest systems in Brazil

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AGFORWARD was represented at the World Congress on Integrated Crop-Livestock-Forest Systems at Brasilia in Brazil between 13 and 17 July. Paul Burgess gave a presentation on "Financial and economic benefits of integrated crop-livestock-tree systems in Europe". The Congress included presentations emphasising how Brazil is integrating trees on crop-livestock farms to support low carbon agriculture and providing details of a national target to achieve 4 million hectares of integrated crop-livestock-forest systems in Brazil by 2020.


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Second general assembly for AGFORWARD

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AGFORWARD held a productive second General Assembly in June at the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute in Chania in Crete. The meeting was hosted by Anastasia Pantera and her colleagues. Professors PK Nair and Shibu Jose, both members of the External Expert Advisory Panel for the project from the USA, also contributed to a wide range of workshops.


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Research protocols on high cultural and nature value agroforestry

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AGFORWARD has ten stakeholder groups across Europe focused on agroforestry of high cultural and nature value. Each group has now placed their research and development plans on their AGFORWARD webpage.

The most comprehensive plan covers the Dehesa system in Spain. The 71 page research protocol covers issues such as tree regeneration, evaluation of triticale cultivars and forage legumes, rotational grazing, and carbon sequestration. The groups in Portugal and Greece are focusing on the effect of understorey management on cork oak and valonia oak systems respectively. The group in Sardinia is investigating the effect of trees on pasture establishment. The wood pasture group in the UK are researching "invisible fencing", and the group in Germany will compare methods of tree harvesting and regeneration. The stakeholder group in France are comparing the biodiversity and associated ecosystem services of bocage hedgerows on two contrasting farms. In Hungary, the research includes vegetation and social surveys, and in Romania the stakeholder group is investigating methods of tree regeneration and social attitudes to wood pasture. The group in Sweden is focusing on the interactions between forest management and reindeer husbandry.

More detailed descriptions can be found by downloading the protocol associated with each group.


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Research on intercropping and grazing in orchards and with other high value trees

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Nine research and development protocols have been developed by stakeholder groups focused on the grazing and intercropping of high value tree crops such as fruit trees, olives, chestnuts, and walnuts.

Within apple orchards, farm trials have been established with Shropshire sheep in Normandy in Northern France and in Herefordshire in Western England. A detailed experiment with and without sheep and with two apple varieties and a grassland control has been established in Northern Ireland.

Research related to olive groves includes the intercropping of olives with asparagus and flowers in Italy. In Greece, experiments have been established to determine the impact of intercropping olive trees with barley in Chalkidiki and with chickpea and oregano in Molos. In Crete, there is a demonstration of establishing potatoes and chickpeas between widely-spaced orange trees.

The group in Galicia, Spain is focusing on agroforestry with chestnut trees. They are investigating methods of tree protection, mushroom production, and the development of new chestnut varieties and grafted plants. Another group in Spain is focused on grazing and the use of legumes in walnut plantations, and the impact of pollarding wild cherry.


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Research protocols on agroforestry for arable farms

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Twelve stakeholder groups have developed research plans focused on trees with arable crops. Some groups are establishing on-farm demonstration sites. For example in Italy, oak and poplars have been planted to create 35 m alleys within an arable rotation. In Hungary, paulownia trees have been planted at 18 m spacing in fields of alfalfa. In Greece, walnuts and cherry trees have been planted at 15 m spacing within arable crops.

Other groups have focused on measurements within established systems. The groups in South West France and Western France have combined to research tree growth and arable yields within a walnut silvoarable system planted in 1973 in Western France. In Germany, research is focused on sugar beet production between alleys of poplar and black locust established in 2010-2011. The research in Switzerland is focused on 12 farmer-led silvoarable systems planted between 2011 and 2015. A group in South West France is also comparing the growth of mature open-grown ash trees with those found in hedgerows.

Research in Spain includes two separate experiments comparing wheat and maize yields between established walnuts (planted in 2007-2008) relative to arable controls. Another experiment in Galicia, Spain is looking at medicinal plants grown between wild cherry trees. In Southern France, there is research on participatory plant breeding of durum wheat, and the selection of better adapted wheat mixtures is the focus of the group in the UK. The effect of tree rows in arable fields on weed development is being studied near Montpellier in Southern France and in Picardy in Northern France. Understorey management of the tree rows is also the focus of two trials in the UK.

Full details of each group can be found on the associated webpage.


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Research protocols on agroforestry for livestock farms

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Nine research and development protocols have been developed by the stakeholder groups integrating trees on livestock farms. First across the work-package, there is a plan to establish best practices for managing trees with livestock using existing data and the experience gained by the partners. The other research and development activities focus on either poultry, pigs, or ruminants.

In the UK, the poultry group is researching shade-tolerant swards which can survive beneath trees. The poultry agroforestry group in the Netherlands are looking at the barriers to poultry and fruit tree growers working together.

In Denmark research is planned on nutrient leaching and the welfare of pigs within paddocks surrounded by poplar. Pig welfare and tree protection will also be studied in a pig-poplar system in Italy. The group in Spain are focusing on the use of the Morus species as fodder for pigs.

Research on ruminants includes assessments of the feed value of different tree species across France, the Netherlands, the UK, and Denmark. A demonstration plot integrating a range of trees with dairy cows has been established in France, and with beef cattle in the UK. An on-farm experiment to establish the impact of trees on grass production is also planned in France.

The respective research plans are available on the webpage associated with each stakeholder group.


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AGFORWARD on Facebook

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This newsletter is circulated quarterly. If you would like more frequent updates on the promotion of agroforestry in Europe, please visit our Facebook page.


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Contact Details

Paul Burgess, AGFORWARD Project Co-ordinator
Cranfield University, Cranfield, Bedfordshire, MK43 0AL, UK
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Kenisha Garnett, AGFORWARD Project Administrator,
Cranfield University, Cranfield, Bedfordshire, MK43 0AL, UK
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Rosa Mosquera-Losada, AGFORWARD representative from the European Agroforestry Federation
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Fabien Liagre, Leader of the AGFORWARD dissemination work-package
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www.agforward.eu



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The AGFORWARD project (Grant Agreement N° 613520) is co-funded by the European Commission, Directorate General for Research & Innovation, within the 7th Framework Programme of RTD, Theme 2 - Biotechnologies, Agriculture & Food. The views and opinions expressed in this report are purely those of the writers and may not in any circumstances be regarded as stating an official position of the European Commission.