Research projects

AGroFORestry that Will Advance Rural Development (AGFORWARD)

AGroFORestry that Will Advance Rural Development (AGFORWARD)


Code : Agreement no. 613520

Contract Period : 01/01/2014 - 31/12/2017

Project Webpage :

Main Funder : EU FP 7

ORC Staff Contact : Jo Smith

Working with 26 partners from across 23 European countries, this project aims to promote agroforestry practices in Europe that will advance sustainable rural development, i.e. improved competitiveness and social and environmental enhancement.

Project Aims:

The overall goal of the project is to promote agroforestry practices in Europe that will advance sustainable rural development, i.e. improved competitiveness, and social and environmental enhancement.
To achieve this, the AGFORWARD project has four main aims:
1) To improve our understanding of the technical, environmental and socio-economic functioning of existing and new extensive and intensive agroforestry systems,
2) To identify, develop and field-test innovations related to provisioning and other ecosystem services (biodiversity, carbon storage, nutrient cycling, resilience, stress toleration) to improve the benefits and viability of agroforestry systems in Europe,
3) To develop and update designs and practices adapted for areas where agroforestry is currently not-practised or is declining, and
4) To promote the wider adoption of appropriate agroforestry systems in Europe.

A central part of the project is the development of a number of participatory research and development networks where project participants will work with land managers and other stakeholders, using existing knowledge and experience of their own multifunctional systems, to identify key challenges and potential innovations to improve their systems. These innovations will then be evaluated experimentally and on-farm.

ORC's Role:

ORC is responsible for developing participatory research and development networks centred on silvopoultry systems (such as Woodland Egg producers) and silvoarable systems within the UK. We will also be collecting data from our own agroforestry research sites (Wakelyns Agroforestry and Elm Farm) to feed into modelling impacts on yields and ecosystem services at a field, farm and landscape scale. We will work with colleagues from Spain to investigate how agroforestry sits within the current and future policy frameworks, and develop policy recommendations. We will also be closely involved with the development of tools for farmers and advisors and other knowledge transfer activities.

Current progress highlights:

We held an Agroforestry for Growers workshop at Tolhurst Organic on 30th November 2015.

Project leader and partners:

  • Cranfield University (Project Coordinators)
  • European Forest Institute (International)
  • Association de Coordination Technique Agricole (France)
  • University of Santiago de Compostel (Spain)
  • TEI Stereas Elladas (Greece)
  • Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (France)
  • BTU Cottbus (Germany)
  • Universidad de Extremadura (Spain)
  • Instituto Superior de Agronomia, Lisbon (Portugal)
  • University of Copenhagen (Denmark)
  • Research Station FDEA-ART Zurich (Switzerland)
  • Werkgroep voor Rechtvaardige en Verantwoorde Landbouw (Wervel vzw) (Belgium)
  • Aarhus University (Denmark)
  • Agri Food and Biosciences Institute (UK)
  • Consiglio per la Ricerca e la Sperimentazione in Agricoltura (Italy)
  • Louis Bolk Institute (The Netherlands)
  • Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (Italy)
  • Cooperation Research Centre for Environmental Resources Management and Protection (Hungary)
  • Universitatea Babes-Bolyai (Romania)
  • Veneto Agricoltura (Italy)
  • Agroof (France)
  • Assemblée Permanente des Chambres d’Agriculture (France)
  • Association Française d’AgroForesterie (France)
  • World Agroforestry Centre (International)
  • European Agroforestry Federation (Pan-European)


Smith J (2017) Agroforestry that will advance rural development ORC Bulletin 123

Previous Relevant Work: