Cranfield University

Cranfield launches European project to promote the use of trees in farming


Source: Cranfield University

The first meeting of ‘AGFORWARD’, an exciting EU funded research programme on agroforestry, was held at Cranfield University this week. 

The 4-year 6 million Euro project will be working with farmers and land owners in 15 countries across Europe to identify how agroforestry practices – farming with trees – can create  profitable, productive, and environmentally beneficial farming systems.

The 26–strong group of prestigious European and international institutions will be co-ordinated by Dr Paul Burgess, from Cranfield’s Department of Environmental Science and Technology.

Paul said: “Historically, agriculture and forestry have been  managed and regulated separately.   In the context of recent concerns on food security, a demand for bioenergy, and environmental issues which require thinking at a landscape-scale, we need a new approach.  One way to maintain production and gain environmental benefits is to work with farmers to identify how integrating trees can produce more sustainable farming systems whilst maintaining or increasing profitability.  There can also be wider benefits for society”

One group will look at the current extent of agroforestry across Europe including valued habitats such as parklands in the UK and the Dehesa system in Spain.  Another group will work with farmers to understand how established agroforestry systems can be improved, and how and where trees can provide benefits in arable and livestock systems.   Examples include woodland egg, woodland pigs, and grazed orchards.  The team will also evaluate the potential for innovative practices for locations where agroforestry is currently not-practised. 

The findings will provide recommendations for farmers on best practice on farming with trees. The results will also provide invaluable guidance as to how individual countries implement aspects of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy such as ecological focus areas and agri-environment measures.


Notes to Editors:
The AGROFORWARD (AGroFORestry that Will Advance Rural Development) project is led by Cranfield University, working with partners across Europe:
•    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)
•    Organic Research Centre (UK)
•    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)

For further information please contact: Fiona Siebrits, School of Applied Sciences, Cranfield University. T: +44 (0) 1234 758040

Press and Publications Manager
School of Applied Sciences
Cranfield University
Bedfordshire MK43 0AL

Tel: +44 (0) 1234 758040

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