The aim of the European AGFORWARD project is to promote agroforestry practices that advance rural development and generate both economic and ecological benefits. Existing research indicates that agroforestry methods are a key avenue to helping the EU achieve more sustainable food and fibre production. This benefits farmers as well as the environment.
Successful and sustainable agroforestry practices are best developed by farmers and land owners working in partnership with researchers and extension staff. AGFORWARD therefore uses a participatory approach. This means that questions arising from practice form the starting point of our research. For example, we are exploring and analysing different agroforestry systems in Europe and assessing their effectiveness and economic profitability. We are also investigating how agroforestry practices can be further promoted through policy measures and legislation
Investigating different forms of agroforestry
In AGFORWARD, we are exploring and analysing different agroforestry systems in Europe and assessing their effectiveness and economic profitability. We are also investigating how agroforestry practices can be further promoted through policy measures and legislation. The project is organised into nine work packages:
1) Existing agroforestry systems in Europe;
2) Agroforestry systems of high cultural and natural value;
3) Agroforestry for high quality tree systems;
4) Agroforestry for arable farmers;
5) Agroforestry for livestock farmers;
6) Field and farm-scale evaluations;
7) Landscape-scale evaluations;
8) Agroforestry policy development;
9) Dissemination of results and knowledge.
AGFORWARD research activities in the Netherlands focus on the multifunctional integration of trees and shrubs into livestock farming systems (poultry, goats, dairy cows).
AGFORWARD (AGroFORestry that Will Advance Rural Development) is a four-year project (2014-2017) funded by the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7). The project involves researchers from 17 European countries and two international organisations. The Louis Bolk Institute and the 'Dune Farmers' foundation are the project partners in the Netherlands.