Bocage agroforestry in Brittany, France

Description of system

The hedgerow systems of Brittany in France are ancient agroforestry systems largely based on lines of high-stem and medium-stem trees. The main period of expansion of this agroforestry system was from the 18th Century to the end of the 19th Century. However from the 1950s, the process of agricultural modernization, intensification, and reallocation led to a decrease in hedgerows density. The mean density of hedgerow varies from 16 to 94 m per hectare across the different counties of Brittany. Since the 1990s, hedge planting schemes have been implemented to try to maintain the cultural landscape and to regulate nitrate and phosphorus pollution.

Initial stakeholder meeting

The meeting on 26 November 2014 was organized in association with the “Terres & Bocages” association. It was attended by 42 people (plus the two facilitators and the three researchers working for AGFORWARD Project). The key positive benefits of the hedgerows were seen to be biodiversity and wlidlife habitat, soil conservation, runoff control, and carbon sequestration. Negative issues included labour and management costs. Potential innovations including guidance on the choice of the number of lines and density of trees to get both shelterbelt and timber functions in the same hedgerow, and the development of hedgerow “models” to fit multi-purpose objectives.

If you would like to know about the activity of this group, please contact Dr Claudine Thenail; Claudine.thenail@rennes.inra.fr

Download the initial stakeholder report

Download the initial research and development protocol

A research and development protocol was produced in June 2015

Download the system description

A research update on the bocage agroforestry system in Brittany was produced in February 2016.