How can policy support the uptake of agroforestry in Europe?

In October 2017, AGFORWARD released a 21 page report, led by Rosa Mosquera-Losada, which describes how policy can support the uptake of agroforestry in Europe. The report builds on an initial report on Extent and Success of Current Policy Measures to Promote Agroforestry across Europe.

This report comprises seven sections and makes 15 recommendations. Section 1 explains that the objective is to provide guidance to policy makers in Europe on how modifications to policy can increase the uptake of agroforestry. Section 2 highlights why agroforestry should be supported as it is a sustainable land management option that delivers a large number of the market and non-market goods and services needed to address many high-policy-level societal goals.

Section 3 defines agroforestry and the major types or practices of agroforestry in Europe. It defines agroforestry as “the deliberate integration of woody vegetation (trees and/or shrubs) as an upper storey on land, with pasture (consumed by animals) or an agricultural crop in the lower storey. The woody species can be evenly or unevenly distributed or occur on the border of plots. The woody species can deliver forestry or agricultural products or other ecosystem services (i.e. provisioning, regulating or cultural).” The five major types of agroforestry across Europe are: silvopasture; silvoarable; hedgerows, windbreaks and riparian buffer strips; forest farming and homegardens.

Section 4 focuses on cross-compliance and recommends that woody vegetation promotion and preservation linked to landscape features should be simplified with clearly stated objectives.

Section 5 describes agroforestry in Pillar I of the Common Agricultural Policy and its relationship with cross-compliance, basic and greening payment. The report provides recommendations on how agroforestry should be supported on i) arable land, ii) permanent grassland, and with iii) permanent crops. A recommended mechanism to allow farmers to establish, maintain and improve agroforestry practices, whilst retaining full Pillar I payments, is through the use of agroforestry management plans. It is also recommended that a fourth section called “agroforestry” is included as part of the future greening payment because it is one of the most effective way of mitigating and adapting agriculture to climate change.

Section 6 focuses on Pillar II measures related to agroforestry. Building on the previous report, it recommends that the 27 measures associated with agroforestry practices should be presented as a single unique measure. It recommends that there should be Pillar II support for agroforestry establishment and management on both i) agricultural land and ii) forest land. It also recommends the use of other activities or measures to encourage agroforestry through result-based payments at farm- and landscape-levels, through co-operation within the value chain, and the support of agroforestry knowledge at all education levels. A final global conclusion is that one way to advance the above to the wider benefit of Europe is through the development of a European Agroforestry strategy.

Mosquera-Losada, M.R., Santiago Freijanes, J.J., Pisanelli, A., Rois, M., Smith, J., den Herder, M., Moreno, G., Lamersdorf, N., Ferreiro Domínguez, N., Balaguer, F., Pantera, A., Papanastasis, V., Rigueiro-Rodríguez, A., Aldrey, J.A., Gonzalez-Hernández, P., Fernández-Lorenzo, J.L., Romero-Franco, R., Lampkin, N., Burgess, P.J. (2017). Deliverable 8.24: How can policy support the appropriate development and uptake of agroforestry in Europe? 7 September 2017. 21 pp.