EIP-AGRI Focus Group: Agroforestry Introducing woody vegetation into specialised crop and livestock systems - Final Report December 2017

EIP-Agri Focus Group, Ulrich Schmutz

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

Abstract

This report presents the findings of the EIP-AGRI Focus Group (FG) on 'Agroforestry: Integrating woody crops into specialised crop and livestock systems'. Agroforestry, here defined as the practice of integrating woody vegetation with crops and/or livestock systems, is a historical approach to farming that is being re-discovered. Agroforestry practices have the potential to be regenerative, improve and increase ecosystem services at the local and landscape level, and to improve farming productivity and profitability. These practices can be applied to create profitable systems, while capturing carbon, improving biodiversity, controlling erosion, and improving water resource management. Therefore, there is a growing interest in developing modern, viable agroforestry systems within the EU. The FG investigated challenges, opportunities, existing practices and ways forward to further develop agroforestry systems in Europe. The main question was: How to develop agroforestry as a sustainable farming system which can boost agricultural productivity and profitability?
The FG consisted of 20 experts from 15 EU countries with different professional backgrounds. The participants provided case studies of practical existing agroforestry systems as a base for the investigation. These were discussed thoroughly in the first meeting, leading to 9 main areas of interest to be developed into mini-papers (MP). The areas of interest were; MP1 Organising added value of agroforestry, MP2 Education in agroforestry, MP3 Tools for optimal design and management, MP4 Databases on agroforestry, MP5 Practical tree knowledge on farm level, MP6 Financial impact of agroforestry, MP7 A territorial approach to agroforestry development: from theory to practice, MP8 Important considerations and alternative approaches to assess ecosystem services in agroforestry systems, and, MP9 Mitigation and adaptation agroforestry tools. At the second meeting the FG further developed the draft papers and discussed ways to move agroforestry forward within the EU. This work constitutes the basis for the final report.
Five examples of agroforestry systems are presented in this report; the sheep orchard, steep diverse production, chickens under the willows, shaping the landscape, and differentiation in the flatlands. All are examples of managing careful multidimensional design including above and below ground. The systems contain multiple species that all need to act in symbiotic ways with each other and the farm system. They are all dependent on the local context and though the basic intentions and starting points are similar, none of them look the same.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherEuropean Commission
Number of pages32
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017

Keywords

  • Agroecology
  • Agroforestry

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