Innovations to be examined for High Nature and Cultural Value Agroforestry

During 2014, a participative research and development network was established to focus on European agroforestry systems that are recognised for their high natural and cultural value. In total, ten stakeholder meetings were held to identify the key opportunities, constraints and potential innovations in their systems. Most of the systems are a form of wood pasture, although a group in North West France is focusing on “bocage” or hedgerow agroforestry. During December 2014 and January 2015, the facilitators of these groups synthesised their results to identify key areas on which to focus research and development during the remainder of the AGFORWARD project.

The research of this network will focus on closing the knowledge gap and the completion of a number of field experiments and trials.

Closing the knowledge gap

In order to provide a detailed description of each system by December 2015, each stakeholder group will collate and collect information on the components of the system, estimates of the effect of the tree canopies on pasture production and carbon storage, and key sources of revenue and costs.

Experiments and field trials

A number of experiments and field trials are also planned, which are considered within seven headings. The full set of planned experiments and field trials can be found in the report (Moreno et al, 2015):

System design and management : in France, the interest is on “bocage” agroforestry and research will focus on developing modular models of hedgerow systems, and the role of hedgerows in preventing soil erosion.

Tree regeneration : in Spain, there is an interest in promoting tree regeneration through the use of seeding and the use of dead branch and wood mulches.

Livestock management : in the UK and Sweden, there is an interest in the use of GPS collars for cattle and/or the use of “invisible fencing”. Invisible fencing involves the use of an underground electric wire and a sensor on a collar in areas of high public use. In Italy there is interest in the effects of grazing exclusion.

Fodder resources : selection of legume pastures and winter forages is of interest in Spain and Italy.

New products : surveys to assess the willingness to pay a premium price for agroforestry products are a focus of work in Spain, Portugal, and Greece.

Conservation : the choice of livestock species and breed is of interest in Romania and Hungary.

Governance : new co-operative models for developing agroforestry are of interest in France.

Moreno G, Berg S, Burgess PJ, Camilli F, Crous-Duran J, Franca A, Hao H, Hartel T, Lind T, Mirck J, Palma J, Pantera A, Papadopoulos A, Paula JA, Pisanelli A, Seddaiu G, Thenail C, Tsonkova P, Upson M, Valinger E, Varga A, Viaud V, Vityi, A (2015). Innovations to be examined for High Nature and Cultural value Agroforestry. Milestone 2.2 (MS 3) for EU FP7 Research Project: AGFORWARD 613520. 20 pp

For further information on this work, please contact Gerardo Moreno: gmoreno@unex.es