Extent and Success of Current Policy Measures to Promote Agroforestry across Europe

In December 2016, AGFORWARD released a 95 page report, led by Rosa Mosquera-Losada, which describes the extent and success of previous and current policy measures to promote agroforestry in Europe.

After an introduction, the second section provides a definition of agroforestry for policy as ""the integration of woody vegetation (first component) in at least two vertical layers on land, with the bottom layer providing an agricultural product such crops or forage/pasture (second component) which may be consumed by animals (third component)”. It continues: “The distribution of the woody vegetation can be uneven or evenly distributed and the woody component can deliver an agronomic product (fruit, forage) and some other ecosystem services". The second section also establishes a policy classification for agroforestry practices and provides a reference level of regional distribution of agroforestry practices in Europe. Using the same LUCAS (2012) dataset as den Herder et al (2016), the area of silvopastoral and silvoarable practices in Europe is estimated as 15.4 million ha. However this report also highlights an additional 2.7 million hectares of grazed shrubland and 1.8 million hectares of homegardens, both of which are considered as agroforestry by FAO, ICRAF and AFTA. The classification also includes agroforestry practices like riparian buffer strips and forest farming.

The third section of the report shows the main international policy framework for European policy and demonstrates how agroforestry can support the achievement of global and European policies to promote sustainable agriculture and rural development. This includes the role of agroforestry to reduce and counteract greenhouse gas emissions (e.g. climate-smart agriculture) and improve biodiversity.

The Common Agricultural Policy in Europe is based on two pillars. Section 4 of the report focuses on agroforestry and the “first pillar” which supports payments to farmers provided they meet Statutory Management Requirements (SMRs) and maintain the land in Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition (GAEC). This can require the maintenance of landscape features such as hedges and isolated trees, and buffer strips along water courses. However Pillar I payments are only made on designated “agricultural” land defined as arable land, grassland, and permanent crops (e.g. fruit trees and short rotation coppice). The report explains how wide hedges or having more than a certain number of trees per hectare can mean that arable land (independent of the level of production) can become ineligible for payments. The eligibility of grassland areas with trees is more flexible as it can take account of locally established practices, but this depends on national or regional implementation of that option. The report argues that the uptake and maintenance of agroforestry practices (and the associated societal benefits) depend on agroforestry remaining eligible for Pillar I payments if grassland and arable lands are considered.

Section 5 of the report focuses on the second pillar of the Common Agricultural Policy. This includes measures to support rural development such as agri-environmental payments. The report takes a broad brief and examines a full range of measures that supported or supports the integration of trees and shrubs with farming in the 2007-2013 and/or the initial activation (December 2015) of the 2014-2020 rural development programmes. This includes measures to support forest farming, silvoarable practices (forest strips and small stands, hedgerows, and isolated trees), and silvopasture practices (silvopastoralism and permanent crops, and mountain pastoralism). The wide range of measures demonstrates that policy makers recognise the role of agroforestry (in its broad definition) in supporting rural development and sustainable agriculture. The section also includes a more detailed review of the specific “agroforestry” measures 222 (2007-2013) and 8.2 (2014-2020) to support the establishment of widely spaced trees on arable land. The development of guidance on future agroforestry policy support will be considered in a later AGFORWARD report.

Mosquera-Losada, M.R., Santiago Freijanes, J.J., Pisanelli, A., Rois, M., Smith, J., den Herder, M., Moreno, G., Malignier, N., Mirazo, J.R., Lamersdorf, N., Ferreiro Domínguez, N., Balaguer, F., Pantera, A., Rigueiro-Rodríguez, A., Gonzalez-Hernández, P., Fernández-Lorenzo J.L., Romero-Franco, R., Chalmin, A., Garcia de Jalon, S., Garnett, K., Graves, A., Burgess, P.J. (2016). Extent and success of current policy measures to promote agroforestry across Europe.Deliverable 8.23 for EU FP7 Research Project: AGFORWARD 613520. (8 December 2016). 95 pp.