EU support for agroforestry grows

EURAF organised the first European Scientific Conference on agroforestry in Brussels on 9-10 October 2012, with participants from 17 European countries and delegates from America and Africa. Evidence of outstanding productivity and efficient provision of ecosystem services was discussed at the conference, with more than 50 papers offered to the audience. The book of abstracts is now available on-line.

During the Conference, an event titled “Agroforestry: Trees for a Sustainable European Agriculture” was organized at the European Parliament. The event was chaired by MEP Gaston Franco, and organised by the European Parliament Intergroup “Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development”. This was the first time that agroforestry was promoted at the European Parliament level. The response was very positive, with Mrs Benitez Salas from the European Commission commenting that “Agroforestry is a rediscovered form of sustainable and creative agriculture.” Access the presentations.

As a conclusion to the Conference, all EURAF participants agreed with the 7 following statements:

  1. Traditional agroforestry systems should be recognized and renewed, and innovative agroforestry systems should be promoted for adoption.
  2. Agroforestry systems should be fully eligible for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) first pillar payments and the 50 trees per hectare limit should be removed.
  3. A broad agroforestry measure should be maintained in CAP Pillar 2 to help farmers establish agroforestry systems (including hedges) adapted to their environment.
  4. An agroforestry measure should be incorporated in Pillar 2 to help farmers to manage and renew endangered traditional agroforestry systems.
  5. As agroforestry can be implemented throughout Europe, pillar 2 agroforestry measures could be compulsory for all state members in the next Rural Development Regulation.
  6. Agroforestry systems should be eligible for inclusion in the ecological focus area of farms.
  7. The benefits of agroforestry systems for climate change adaptation and mitigation should be recognized and accounted for in the European Union Climate policy.

More detailed suggestions for an agroforestry-friendly Common Agricultural Policy are available on the EURAF website: www.agroforestry.eu.

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