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

Introduction

Learning from North Africa

New Reports on Agroforestry Systems of High Nature and Cultural Value

France: bocage agroforestry

Germany: agroforestry in the Spreewald

Hungary: wood pasture

Romania: wood pasture

Sweden: wood pasture and reindeer

New Reports on Agroforestry for High Value Tree Systems

France: grazed orchards

UK: grazed orchards

Greece: intercropping orange groves

Greece: intercropping walnut trees

Spain: chestnut systems

New Reports on Agroforestry for Arable Systems

Spain: silvoarable systems

France (South): silvoarable

France (West): silvoarable

France (North): silvoarable

Switzerland: silvoarable

UK: silvoarable

Hungary: silvoarable

New Reports on Agroforestry for Livestock Systems

Denmark: pigs and poultry

Italy: pigs and energy crops

Spain: agroforestry with pigs

France: agroforestry with cattle

AGFORWARD on Facebook

Contact Details

Subscription Details


Introduction

This is the third newsletter from the AGFORWARD research project (2014-2017), sponsored by the European Union FP7 programme. It is amazing to think that the project, which seeks to promote sustainable agroforestry practices in Europe, has already been running for one year.

A key focus of our first year has been the creation of four participative research and development networks focussed on i) agroforestry systems of high nature and cultural value, ii) agroforestry for high value tree systems such as orchards and olive groves, iii) agroforestry for arable systems, and iv) agroforestry for livestock systems.

The November newsletter gave links to the initial meeting reports for 19 stakeholder groups. This newsletter provides links to another 21 stakeholder meeting reports which are now available on the AGFORWARD website. These reports cover a wide range of agroforestry systems, so there should be one that is of interest to you.

The productivity of any agroforestry system depends on the local climate. Current predictions are that the climate in the Mediterranean parts of Europe will become warmer and drier. The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) has therefore produced a report to examine what European agroforestry can learn from current agroforestry practices in the Mediterranean parts of North Africa.

The final part of the newsletter provides a link to the AGFORWARD Facebook page, which has received over 500 likes. If you have an interest in agroforestry, I strongly encourage you to link to our Facebook community where you will receive updates on the latest developments.

With best wishes,

Paul Burgess
Project Co-ordinator


Learning from North Africa

In Southern Europe, climate change means that agroforestry practices may have to adapt to weather conditions that are currently found in North Africa. Because our project is seeking to develop sustainable agroforestry practices, ICRAF has identified and described some successful agroforestry systems in these areas to inform future practices in Europe.

The report starts with a literature review of agroforestry practices in the southern and eastern Mediterranean, and then identifies locations in North Africa which currently experience the future climate predicted for some dehesa areas in Spain. This is followed by participatory research on agroforestry systems in one of the identified locations in Morocco. The final section describes the results of a modelling approach to determine the responses of a parkland system to climate variability.


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New Reports on Agroforestry Systems of High Nature and Cultural Value

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During the last two months, we have released the initial stakeholder reports on five more agroforestry systems of high natural and cultural value. The systems are "Bocage agroforestry in Brittany, France", "Agroforestry in the Spreedwald flood plain in Germany", "Wood pasture in Hungary", "Wood pasture in Romania", and "Wood pasture and reindeer in Sweden". This work-package is led by Dr Gerardo Moreno of the University of Extremadura in Spain.


France: bocage agroforestry

The bocage or hedgerow systems of Brittany in France are an ancient form of agroforestry with recognised biodiversity and environmental benefits. Over 40 people attended an initial workshop in November 2014.


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Germany: agroforestry in the Spreewald

The Spreewald Biosphere Reserve in Eastern Germany comprises a network of waterways which, in places, are marked by tree-lined hedgerows and small fields. Biodiversity, environmental benefits, and production are perceived as positive aspects of this agroforestry system.


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Hungary: wood pasture

In August 2014, this stakeholder meeting was also used to launch the first National Agroforestry Forum in Hungary. New opportunities are being created for wood pastures in Hungary, as there is increasing formal recognition of their cultural and ecological value.


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Romania: wood pasture

Dr Tibi Hartel has been working with Babes-Bolyai University and a Romanian-based charity called ADEPT to promote the social and ecological sustainability of wood pastures in Southern Transylvania in Romania. The report explains the history of the pastures and identifies potential research themes.


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Sweden: wood pasture and reindeer

Stakeholders meetings in central Sweden are seeking an improved understanding of the relationship between forestry and reindeer husbandry. The meeting participants considered that forestry is generally positive for reindeer husbandry and vice versa, but there are instances where stakeholders could work better together.


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New Reports on Agroforestry for High Value Tree Systems

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The focus of the second participatory research and development network (led by Professor Anastasia Pantera) is to identify, develop, and promote grazing and intercropping practices in tree-based systems such as orchards, olive groves, and high value walnut and chestnut trees. During the past two months, new reports have been released on grazed orchards in France and the UK, the intercropping of walnut and orange trees in Greece, and chestnut systems in Spain.


France: grazed orchards

There are considered to be 150,000 ha of meadow orchards in France. The perceived benefits of grazed orchards include animal health and welfare, production, biodiversity, and disease and weed control.


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UK: grazed orchards

Following the establishment of a group in England and Wales (reported in the last newsletter), a stakeholder group has also been created in Northern Ireland. Sheep grazing in orchards is thought to be a way of potentially reducing mowing costs and reducing apple scab.


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Greece: intercropping orange groves

Farmers in the Chania area of the Greek island of Crete sometimes cultivate crops between their citrus trees from pollarding until the trees achieve a full canopy. The report describes one meeting focused on intercrops and one on hedgerows.


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Greece: intercropping walnut trees

Historically, farmers in central Greece have integrated agricultural production with high value walnut and chestnut trees. A meeting, attended by 19 stakeholder in May 2014, focused on the opportunities and constraints with this system.


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Spain: chestnut systems

Chestnut agroforestry is a traditional land use system in Galicia in north west Spain, and the chestnuts (which can have a PGI label) are exported. A meeting with 26 stakeholder was held in August 2014.


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New Reports on Agroforestry for Arable Systems

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The third participative research and development network (led by Professor Dirk Freese and Dr Jaconette Mirck) focuses on identifying, developing and promoting agroforestry systems for arable farmers. During the past two months, reports have been made available on "silvoarable" systems in Spain, Southern France, Western France, Northern France, the UK, Switzerland, and Hungary.


Spain: silvoarable systems

A meeting on silvoarable systems in North West Spain was attended by 14 participants in October 2014. During the meeting, the University of Santiago de Compostela organised a visit to see the silvoarable experiments with walnut and maize being conducted by the “Bosques Naturales“ company.


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France (South): silvoarable

This stakeholder group, which met in October 2014, visited the INRA Mauguio experimental station and the silvoarable systems at Restinclières in Southern France. An identified area for research is the selection of durum wheat varieties suited to agroforestry conditions.


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France (West): silvoarable

Between 2008 and 2013, over 355 ha of agroforestry has been established across 42 sites in the Poitou Charentes region of Western France with the support of the local Chamber of Agriculture. The farmers have typically planted 30 to 50 trees per hectare, with 27 m between rows to allow a 24 m cultivated area. Two stakeholder meetings in September and October 2014, involving 87 stakeholders, sought to identify the opportunities, constraints, and researchable issues with these systems.


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France (North): silvoarable

Since 2006, about 100 ha of experimental agroforestry has been established across Picardy in Northern France, with tree densities ranging from 28 to 110 trees per hectare, and tree rows ranging from 26 to 50 m. A meeting was held with 15 stakeholders in September 2014 to identify the key opportunities, constraints, and potential areas for innovation.


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Switzerland: silvoarable

In the western part of Switzerland, and building on work in France, there is an interest in establishing high value tree species in arable systems. An initial stakeholder meeting, attended by 22 participants, met in May 2014 and visited a system where the trees were planted in rows spaced 29 m apart.


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UK: silvoarable

There is increasing interest in silvoarable systems in the UK, particularly from the organic sector. An initial stakeholder meeting, attended by seven arable farmers, was held in November 2014 at Wakelyns Agroforestry in Eastern England.


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Hungary: silvoarable

Whilst there is thought to be about 16,000 ha of windbreaks and shelterbelts in Hungary, little research has been conducted on the establishment of trees in arable systems. A stakeholder meeting in August 2014 included a visit to an alley cropping demonstration in Bács-Kiskun County in the Hungarian Great Plain.


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New Reports on Agroforestry for Livestock Systems

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The last participative research and development network (led by John Hermansen from Aarhus University) focuses on the integration of trees into livestock systems. During the last two months, reports have been made available on agroforestry for organic pigs and poultry in the Netherlands, free range pigs with energy crops in Italy, agroforestry for pigs in Spain, and agroforestry for cattle in France.


Denmark: pigs and poultry

This stakeholder group is focusing on the use of trees within small organic pig and poultry enterprises in Denmark, where the meat is sold at a premium directly to consumers. The key benefit of agroforestry was perceived to be improved animal health and welfare.


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Italy: pigs and energy crops

In North East Italy, some farmers with free-range pigs are establishing trees to protect the pigs from high summer temperatures which can reduce productivity. The initial stakeholder meeting included a visit to the ‘Sasse-Rami’ Veneto Agricoltura Experimental Farm.


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Spain: agroforestry with pigs

Celta pigs or “porco celta” are an indigenous pig breed of Galicia in North West Spain which are usually farmed in semi-extensive or extensive conditions in forested areas with chestnut or oak trees. A proposed innovation was using white mulberry as pig fodder.


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France: agroforestry with cattle

A stakeholder group in France with an interest in integrating trees in cattle, sheep and goat production first met in July 2014. A visit to the INRA Lusignan Experimental Centre in Western France took place in August 2014.


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AGFORWARD on Facebook

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Since its creation in October, the AGFORWARD Facebook page has received over 50 posts on issues related to agroforestry in Europe. It can be accessed from the AGFORWARD web-page by clicking on the "Resources" tab of the website. If you wish to keep up with agroforestry developments in Europe, please do link to the 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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Anja Chalmin, European Agroforestry Federation AGFORWARD contact
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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.