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Pilot Project on Agroforestry: Opportunity for European Agriculture

Belgium, 25 August 2015


Agroforestry covers a wide diversity of practices. It includes silvoarable and silvopastoral systems, as well as shelterbelts, hedges, pollarded trees, isolated trees, riparian planting, woodland grazing and grazed orchards. Agroforestry is an ancient practice that is still used in the most biodiverse parts of the European Union. However, the use of large-scale machinery and tree diseases, amongst other factors, has led to the steady loss of trees from many of the croplands and pastures of Europe.

Products coming from agroforestry systems can in principle be both farming and forest products, including wood products.

Agroforestry can play a key role in ecological and economical intensification. The productivity can increase by the complementary use by trees and crops of natural resources such as water and soils. It can also enhance environmental services such as flood control, increased biodiversity, and increased carbon sequestration. Recent research has demonstrated that agroforestry boosts overall productivity, generates enhanced yields of biomass, and increases soil fertility while providing valuable environmental services. In Mediterranean countries, the reduced risks of wildfire and tree dieback by extreme drought are also advantages of extensive silvopastoralism.

Furthermore, agroforestry systems have proven to be economically viable. Economic analysis has shown that a farm that manages 25% of its area with agroforestry systems, incorporating high quality timber trees (e.g. pear, cherry, maple, and walnut), may double its annual income from the moment of harvesting the first trees.

The overall purpose of this pilot project is to provide the comprehensive knowledge and description of agroforestry products as well as to assess economic viability of using an EU-wide label for specified products.

Pilot project themes

In order to achieve the objectives of this pilot project, the following themes will be covered:

  • Theme 1: Typology of agroforestry production systems in Europe

  • Theme 2: Identification of typical products produced from agroforestry production systems

  • Theme 3: Description and analysis of the supply chain of agroforestry products

  • Theme 4: Analysis of existing voluntary labelling schemes available for agroforestry products

  • Theme 5: Analysis of case studies


Submission Deadline: 21 September 2015

Also view the ECN Procurement Notice (accessible by ECN Executive Members - Login to View)

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