Agroforestry Policy Recommendations for Europe - INRA Montpellier

Agroforestry Policy Recommendations for Europe - INRA Montpellier

Agroforestry Policy Recommendations for Europe

Project ‘SAFE’

01/04/2005 Proyecto SAFE 1

Brussels 30.3.05


• Obstacles to the introduction of agroforestry

• The 7 SAFE project policy issues

• The 4 SAFE project policy proposals

• About control schemes

• Conclusions

Obstacles perceived by Officials

• Officials are reluctant because:

– No EU Forest Policy (or mention of forestry in the Constitution)

– No knowledge that agroforestry is in the 1999 EU Forest


– Lack of experience of old or new agroforestry systems, but

most countries cant bend grant rules for experimental trials

– Too complicated to work out the grant regimes (‘If agroforestry

so good why does it need a grant’)

– Effects ‘cadastral’ and local tax status of land

Obstacles perceived by Officials

• Officials are also reluctant because:

Agroforestry falls between agriculture, forestry and

environment departments.

• Agriculture Department wants to hang on to agricultural land.

• Forestry Department doesn’t believe its possible to grow good

quality timber at wide spacing

• Environment Department doesn’t like regimented rows, intensive

management and control of weeds.

Obstacles perceived by Officials

• Officials are finally reluctant because:

–Perception that EU doesn’t allow it !!

(e.g. ‘EU insists that afforestation grants must reduce agricultura


BUT officials are becoming interested in

agroforestry now that it is specifically mentioned

in the draft Rural Development Regulation for


Obstacles to Agroforestry adoption

for the farmer

Farmers reluctant because of:

• 1. Technical uncertainties

– Uncertainties over management, time consumption and yield

– Likely damage to field drains

– Perception of increased pest problems

– Incompatibility with machinery & potential tree-damage

– Little knowledge of timber markets

– Possible lower timber quality

– Trees owned by landlord and not tenants

The SAFE project contributed to

answering some of these issues.

More research is needed on some

Obstacles to agroforestry adoption

for the farmer

Farmers also reluctant because of:

• 2. Regulation disincentives

– Low or no subsidies following 1257/99 (no or lower arable

area payments, no or pro-rata reduced planting grants, no

income support payments, ineligible for agri-environmental


– Classification as permanent forest land (lower tax but lower

land value & irreversible planning control)

– Time and bureaucracy for grant application process

– Scepticism of professionals and advisors

.. Thus … RURAL TREES have been treated as ‘aliens’ by

the CAP …

.. Leading to the loss of wooded landscapes over much of

europe …

.. but some farmers have maintained agroforestry systems ...

. and others have established plantations recently …. How can

they be encouraged?

.. Particularly since there is a cultural and environmental

preference for the environments created by mature trees in

farm landscapes …

SAFE Policy proposals

The new CAP should

adopt a positive

approach to

encouraging the

presence of trees

outside the forest

• Rural trees should no longer be treated as aliens,

which have negative effects for farmers who

manage them (isolated trees, tree hedges, low

density tree stands)

Issue n° 1 : Is agroforestry eligible for

the Pillar I Single Payment Scheme?

• Regulation 1782/03 introducing the

move to the ‘decoupled’ Single

Payment Scheme (SPS) indicates

that ‘woods’ (Article 43) and

forests’ (Article 44) are ineligible

for the SPS.

• But confusion exists because the

Regulation does not define either

‘woods’ or ‘forests’.

• Already there are examples of

farmers removing trees from

farmland (e.g. traditional orchards

in England, hedges in Poland or

dehesa systems in Spain) because

they fear the loss of SPS payments.

Issue n° 2 : how to define agroforestry

in the context of the Pillar I SPS?

Guidance Document AGRI-2254-2003 recommends that

the threshold of 'woodland' is > 50 stems per ha, but does

allow countries to define exceptions in the case of ‘mixedcropping’.

– “In accordance with Article 5(1)(a) of Regulation (EC) No 2419/2001, area

of trees – particularly trees with a potential use only for wood production

inside an agricultural parcel with density of more than 50 trees/ha should,

as a general rule, be considered as ineligible. Exceptions may be envisaged

for tree classes of mixed cropping such as for orchards and for

ecological/environmental reasons. Eventual exceptions must be defined

beforehand by the Member States.”

We propose replacing ‘tree classes of mixed-cropping’ with

‘agroforestry systems’ and include a simple definition of


Issue n°3 : GAEC and agroforestry

• Farmers obtaining the Pillar I

SPS are obliged to

demonstrate that they

maintain the farm in ‘Good

Agricultural and Environmental

Condition' (GAEC). Annex IV

of Regulation 1782/03 gives

one GAEC condition as ‘avoiding

encroachment of unwanted

vegetation on agricultural


• EU countries differ in their

definition of GAEC but it

should be clear at the EU level

that well managed

Agroforestry Systems fulfils

GAEC requirements

Issue n°4 : Maintenance costs of new

agroforestry plantations (Pillar II)

• The draft Rural Development

Regulation includes support for new

planting of agroforestry (Article

41) but NOT the 5-year

maintenance element received by

conventional plantations

– However, maintenance during the 5 first

years of a low density tree stand are

crucial for the success of the plantation.

– Tree protection, weed control, and stem

pruning are essential

Issue n°5 : Agri-Environment support for AF

(Pillar II)

• Existing Agroforestry

systems can be

managed to maximise


benefits. These


management costs

could be included as

an option within the


measures proposed by

the draft RDR

Issue n°6 : Nut trees and agroforestry (Reg


• Regulation 2237/03 Chapter 5 sets

levels and conditions for subsidies

to nut plantations.

Walnut and maize, France

• It sets minimum densities (125/ha

for hazelnuts, 50/ha for almonds,

50/ha for walnuts, 50/ha for

pistachios, 30/ha for locust beans)

but indicates that payments to nut

trees orchards will NOT be made i

these are intercropped.

• This condition is reflected in

national legislation, but is an

unreasonable condition provided

that SPS is not claimed.

Walnut and lavanda, France

Issue n°7 : agroforestry in the EU Forest Strategy

• The 1998 EU Forest Strategy emphasised Agroforestry

in the context of:

– ‘sustainable and multifunctional management of

forests … including optimisation of agroforestry

systems’ (p15);

– research to concentrate on ‘… diversification (nonwood

uses, agro-sylvo-pastoral systems)’..(p16);

– maintenance of traditional management of silvopastoral

systems with high levels of biodiversity

which may be lost of these areas area abandoned


– the importance of agroforestry for carbon

sequestration (p23)

• Yet agroforestry is hardly mentioned in national

forestry strategies, or current EU or national rural

development strategies, or in the recent publication on

‘Sustainable Forestry and the European Union’.

Leading to the SAFE Policy Proposals …

Taking into account

• That the technical issues have

been partially solved, showing

that trees and crops/pastures

can be complementary.

• That the benefits of rural

trees are now demonstrated.

• That the two pillars of the

CAP have contradictory

effects on trees outside the


• The SAFE project suggests:

Policy Proposal I: a clear definition of

‘agroforestry’ should be included in EU


• We suggest a definition that would include isolated trees, treehedges

and low-density tree stands, which clearly distinguishes

between agroforestry and forestry.

Agroforestry systems refer to an agriculture land use system in which high-stem

trees are grown in combination with agricultural commodities on the same plot.

The tree component of agroforestry systems can be isolated trees, tree-hedges,

and low-density tree stands. An agroforestry plot is defined by two


a) at least 50% of the area of the plot is in crop or pasture production,

b) tree density is less than 200/ha (of stemsgreater than 15 cm in diameter at

1.3 meter height), including boundary trees.

•Member states could define specific thresholds

for some traditional systems if required.

SAFE Policy Proposal 2..

• This proposal

– is compatible with existing Regulations

– removes the contradiction between the two pillars of the

CAP on rural trees (farmers will no longer be stimulated

to remove trees to get CAP payments)

– simplifies controls, and therefore saves a lot of European


The total area of an agroforestry parcel should be

eligible for the Single Payment Scheme

SAFE Policy Proposal 3.

Agroforestry systems should be backed by the

Rural Development Regulation (RDR, CAP second


The draft RDR for 2008-2013 includes a welcome and

innovative Article 41 that introduces support for the

establishment of new agroforestry systems. It could be


– to include maintenance costs for agroforestry planting in the

same way as in Article 40 for forest plantations;

– to support the eligibility of existing agroforestry systems for

improvement and environmental payments.

An existing (2001) French agroforestry

environmental regulation

could serve as a model

SAFE Policy Proposal 4.

The EU Action Plan for Sustainable Forest

Management (2006) should emphasise the need

to maintain or increase the presence of

scattered trees in farmed landscapes


• The 1998 EU Forest Strategy refers to

agroforestry several times, but it was

not mentioned in the Commissions recent

review of implementation of the

Strategy. This omission could be

corrected in:

– the proposed Action Plan for Sustainable

Forest Management (2006),

– The EU Rural Development Policy

Document (2006), and

A word on validation methods …

Forestry Aids

Agricultural Aids

Agri-environmental Aids

This is the French system from 2001, but there is a need to simplify …

…and avoid going to the extreme of the Olive

Register ….

Where 760 million

individual olive trees

have been identified at

a cost of €100 million+

Using orthophotos

which can cause major

errors when estimating

tree crown cover

..and find a method which farmers

themselves can monitor …

Pillar I SPS Aids (if

.. At least until the INSPIRE Regulation allows

improved methods of LPIS from 2013 …

• Since Satellite photos

(e.g. IKONOS,


accurate to below 1 m

resolution & don’t have

parallax problems

• Since the INSPIRE

Project will introduce a

harmonised Land Parcel

Identification System

• Since automated tree

counting methods are

becoming available.

CONCLUSION: Is this the future we want for all

agricultural areas in Europe

• Where mechanisation, aids for removal of trees and agricultural

specialisation have created no-trees-lands where previously

there were scattered trees …

• Where Agroforestry Systems have practically disappeared –

except in Mediterranean regions ….

• Where biological and landscape diversity are ignored and where

land is either more intensively used or else abandoned …

• Where opportunities for diversifation an environmental

enhancement are lost because of ill-judged subsidies …

Where flexible approaches to policy issues such as grant eligibility,

cadastral classification and tenants rights can encourage farmers to

experiment with a wide variety of systems.

… or is it better to opt for Agroforestry ?

Where trees provide shelter for animals, erosion control, nitrate

leaching control, fire control, landscape diversity, biological

diversity, C sequestration and maintain traditional farmed


Where biophysical models show that silvoarable systems can in many

circumstances increase the total productivity of crop and trees


Where economic models show that – given a ‘level playing field’ for

subsidies- agroforestry is very often the most profitable option.

CONCLUSIONS: European land-use is at a crossroads

• 1. France has led the way agroforestry experiments and legislation,

but this is threatened unless the Single Payment Scheme is

extended to new and existing agroforestry systems (streu-obst,

dehesa, montados, prés-vergers, parklands, hedgerows, timber

belts etc)

• 2. Article 41 of the new RDR offers a great opportunity for

agroforestry, but maintenance payments are lacking, and officials

in EU states need to be less bureaucratic and be more aware of the

potential of scattered trees to integrate with agriculture whilst

producing quality-timber.

• 3. The 2006 EU Sustainable Forestry Action Plan offers an

opportunity to stress the importance of trees outside the forest.

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