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AGFORWARD News: June 2016
Agroforestry for Europe
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In this Newsletter:

Introduction

Third European Agroforestry Conference

Third General Assembly of AGFORWARD

Royal visit to wood pasture in Romania

Applicants sought for Focus Group on Agroforestry

New research reports: agroforestry of high nature and cultural value

New research reports: intercropping and grazing in orchard, olive, and other high value tree systems

New research reports: agroforestry for arable farms


New research reports: agroforestry for livestock farms

AGFORWARD to be at the IFASA conference

AGFORWARD on Facebook

Contact Details

Subscription Details


Introduction

The AGFORWARD project, funded by the European Commission, aims to promote the appropriate integration of trees with agriculture in Europe. This newsletter provides a range of links to some of our key activities and outputs between March and May 2016.

The newsletter starts with a brief report on the successful Third European Agroforestry Conference organised by EURAF with support from AGFORWARD and hosted by INRA at Montpellier SupAgro in Southern France. The conference (attended by 287 delegates including numerous farmers) included an opening address from the French Minister of Agriculture. The conference clearly demonstrated how agroforestry practices are being used to maintain food production, store carbon, and improve the environment. Immediately after the Conference, AGFORWARD had a productive two day general assembly meeting. Also at the end of May, Dr Tibi Hartel in Romania welcomed a royal delegation from the UK and demonstrated the use of tree fodder within wood pastures.

The increasing recognition of agroforestry as a key land use practice within Europe is also highlighted by the call for a new European Focus Group on Agroforestry. Farmers in particular are encouraged to apply and the deadline is 11 July 2016.

During the past few months, each of 40 stakeholder groups within the project have produced an update on their research. These are now all available on the AGFORWARD website. Some of the work will also be reported at an agroforestry workshop with the IFASA conference to be held in the UK on 13-14 July 2016. As ever, updates of the work of AGFORWARD and European agroforestry are provided through the AGFORWARD Facebook page.


With best wishes

Paul Burgess
AGFORWARD Co-ordinator


Third European Agroforestry Conference

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The Third European Agroforestry Conference was successfully organised by EURAF and hosted by INRA at Montpellier SupAgro in France on 23-25 May 2016. The conference involved an initial day of presentations, a second day of field visits, and a third day of presentations including the practical experiences of farmers using agroforestry on their farms.


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Third General Assembly of AGFORWARD

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In total 48 researchers from 15 countries attended the Third General Assembly of AGFORWARD. This annual meeting enabled AGFORWARD researchers to meet and to work together to advance various components of the project. We also benefited from the external advice and support from our External Expert Advisory Panel including Professors Shibu Jose and PK Nair, with Vimala Nair, from the USA, and Dr Gerry Lawson from CEH in the UK.


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Royal visit to wood pasture in Romania

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AGFORWARD researcher, Dr Tibi Hartel, welcomed HRH Prince of Wales and a delegation from the UK to look at wood pasture and the use of tree fodder in Romania at the end of May.


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Applicants sought for Focus Group on Agroforestry

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Applicants are sought for a new European Focus Group on Agroforestry. European Focus Groups comprise about 20 experts including farmers or foresters, advisers, researchers, and agri-business representatives to collect and summarise knowledge on best practices in a specific field. The European Commission is particularly keen to receive applications from farmers.

The deadline for applications is 11 July 2016 and the initial meeting in Brussels is currently scheduled for 30 November to 1 December 2016.


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New research reports: agroforestry of high nature and cultural value

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AGFORWARD has ten stakeholder groups across Europe focused on agroforestry of high nature and cultural value. Each group has now placed a system report on their AGFORWARD webpage describing the systems and their research during 2015.

A comprehensive 60 page research report covers the Dehesa system in Spain. It describes the distribution of dehesas in Spain, and describes the climate, soil types, and grazing management across 12 dehesa farms. It also describes issues such as the value of pasture production, acorn production, livestock productivity, and a more detailed description of two case study farms.

Three other groups are also researching oak wood pasture systems in the Mediterranean. There is a 28 page report on cork oak silvopastoral systems in Portugal covering the distribution of systems and an initial assessment of the profitability of cork production. A report from Sardinia includes a detailed description of the value and biodiversity of pasture within the grazed oak woodlands on Monte Pisanu. A report from Greece describes some initial results on Valonia oak regeneration and the effect of shading on grass production.

There are wood pasture reports from Hungary and Romania. The report from Romania examines the tree density and tree sizes within 41 wood pastures. The report from Hungary focuses on two specific wood pasture sites at Tűzkövesbörc and Bogyiszlói.

In Northern Europe, one of the reports focuses on the bocage (hedgerow) agroforestry system in France. In Germany, the focus is on the impact of different tree harvesting practices on hedgerow regeneration. In the UK, a 41 page report has been produced on the effect of wood pasture restoration on the density and size structure of key tree species. The group in Sweden is examining how different types of forest management interact with reindeer husbandry.

Links to the reports can be found by clicking on the appropriate image at the end of the following web-page:


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New research reports: intercropping and grazing in orchard, olive, and other high value tree systems

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Ten system reports 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.

In France and the UK, there are three groups focused on grazed orchards. The report from Northern Ireland quantifies the effect of sheep (of a range of breeds including Texel, Beclare, Lleyn, and Highlander) on an orchard of dwarf or semi-dwarf apple trees. The sheep grazed lower branches to a height of about 1.1 m and that there was a reduction in apple yield. In Northern France the study is focusing on the effect of Shropshire sheep on apple yields, sawfly, and apple scab. In England the study is also focused on the use of Shropshire sheep and the report includes some initial modelling results.

Four groups are focused on the intercropping of olives or oranges. The cultivation of wild asparagus and flowers between olive trees is being examined in Italy. At Chalkidiki in Greece, the focus is on the yield of barley and common vetch grown within an olive grove; at Molos in Greece the focus is on intercropping chickpea and oregano between olives. The intercropping of chickpea between orange trees is being examined in Crete, Greece.

Two of the groups are in Spain. One group is examining the effect of grazing, mowing, ploughing, and the use of legumes or native grasses (with different levels of fertilizer) on tree growth and nitrate leaching in a walnut plantation. The other group is focused on mushroom production in a chestnut agroforestry system, and the field-testing of new Galician chestnut varieties.

The remaining group is focused on improving our understanding of the biomass of mature pollard trees in southern France.

Each of the above reports can be found by clicking on the appropriate image at the end of the following web-page:


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New research reports: agroforestry for arable farms

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Twelve system reports have been produced in relation to the integration of trees with arable farming across Europe.

Three of the groups are looking at the selection of cereal varieties appropriate for agroforestry. Twelve durum wheat varieties are being tested at Restinclières near Montpellier in southern France. Different spring oat and wheat varieties are being examined between rows of willow coppice at Wakelyns Agroforestry in the UK. There is also a group looking at the responses of different wheat and barley varieties beneath walnut near Toledo in Spain.

Two of the groups are focused on the impact of trees on weed populations within an arable system. This includes research at Restinclières in southern France and in the Picardie region in northern France.

A particularly interesting piece of research is the study of a mature alley-cropping black walnut system in western France. The trees, which are almost 40 years old, were planted in 1977 and the crop species include barley and peas.

A range of alley cropping systems are being examined in Spain, Switzerland, Hungary, Greece, the UK, Italy, and Germany. In Spain, maize and two types of medicinal plants have been planted between wild cherry trees; the trees are planted at a 6 m inter-row spacing. The Swiss report describes the planting of 100 apple trees per hectare in 10 m rows with a mixture of intercrops in a non-organic system. In Hungary, Paulownia trees are being grown at a 14 m inter-row spacing within an alfalfa crop. In Greece, beans have been grown between walnut and wild cherry trees planted at a 15 m inter-row spacing. The UK report includes the planting of apple and eight other varieties of tree in 20 m rows and the intercropping of organic vegetables. In Italy, hybrid poplar have been planted in 35 m rows with a sugar beet intercrop, with initial measurements of the effect on tree-crop interactions on both tree growth and crop yields. The widest spaced system is in Germany, where 11 m-wide rows of poplar and black locust coppice have been planted at inter-row distances ranging from 24 m to 144 m; the arable crop in 2015 was sugar beet.

Further details on each of these systems can be found by selecting the appropriate image at the base of the following web-page:


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New research reports: agroforestry for livestock farms

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Eight system reports have been developed by the stakeholder groups integrating trees on livestock farms.

A report from the UK and a report from the Netherlands focuses on poultry agroforestry systems. The UK study is comparing sward mixtures which may be resistant to tree shading. In the Netherlands, fruit trees, willow coppice and grass are being compared as alternatives for the ranging area of free-range hens.

The use of trees in pig production is being studied in Denmark, Italy, and Spain. In Denmark, poplar and willow (planted in 2009) are being examined in a free-range pig production system. In Italy, the effect of poplar and different types of tree shelter is being studied with free-range pigs. The group in Italy is also studying a second site where pigs are allowed access to a 15-30 year old stand of coppice trees and shrubs. In Spain, four clones of mulberry (Morus species) are being studied in terms of their potential as an alternative feed source for pigs.

There are three reports on trees with cattle in England, the Netherlands and France. The report from England focuses on the introduction of willow and alder short rotation coppice (at a 24 m row spacing) within grassland grazed by cattle. The study in the Netherlands also focuses on willow and alder coppice (at a 24 m spacing) with dairy cattle. Both the English and the Dutch systems are part of an organic farm system. The study in France focuses on tree protection methods used with a range of high stem, pollarded, and coppiced trees at a 20 m spacing within a grassland dairy system.

Further details on each of these groups can be found by clicking on the appropriate image at the base of the following web-page:


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AGFORWARD to be at the IFASA conference

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AGFORWARD is supporting two agroforestry sessions and a field visit at the International Farming Systems Conference at Harper Adams in the UK on Wednesday 13 and Thursday 14 July 2016. The workshop called "Pathways for land use: the sustainable avenue of agroforestry" will take place within the "Pathways to sustainable agrifood systems" theme. Further details of the conference can be found on the IFSA website.


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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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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.