Preliminary stratification and quantification of agroforestry in Europe
One of the objectives of the AGFORWARD project is to advance the mapping and quantification of agroforestry in Europe. Michael de Herder and colleagues have recently produced a report that makes a first attempt to stratify and quantify agroforestry practices within Europe using the categories used in the AGFORWARD project i.e. agroforestry of high nature and cultural value, agroforestry involving high value trees such as olive and fruit trees, and agroforestry involving arable and livestock production.
In AGFORWARD, agroforestry is defined as “the practice of deliberately integrating woody vegetation (trees or shrubs) with crops and/or livestock production to benefit from the resulting ecological and economic interactions”. This report is based on a preliminary review of literature and datasets describing agroforestry practices across Europe. It is structured in line with the focus of the four farmer networks in the project i.e. agroforestry of high nature and cultural value; agroforestry with high value trees such as fruit trees, olives, and chestnut; agroforestry for arable farms; and agroforestry for livestock farms.
Much of the agroforestry of high nature and cultural value is commonly termed “wood-pastures”. Substantial literature exists concerning the dehesas in Spain and montados in Portugal, which cover about 4.6 million hectares. However Papanastasis et al (2009) also reports about 1.9 million hectares of agroforestry in Greece including grazed woodland and oak trees on agricultural land. An area of about 279,000 ha is reported for grazed oak woodlands in Italy. The areas of wood meadows and pastures north of the Mediterranean are smaller but still significant (403,000 ha). In this preliminary report, no areas are reported for wood pasture in Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria; including these would increase the area of wood pasture in central Europe. It is reported that the combined area of hedgerows in the UK (except Northern Ireland), and the area of scattered trees and hedgerows in France is about 460,000 hectares. In terms of area, the largest reported agroforestry practice (41.4 million hectares) is reindeer husbandry in Sweden, Norway, and Finland.
The next section considers agroforestry with high value trees. This is dominated by fruit tree agroforestry (including Streuobst) covering at least 1,227,000 hectares. There are also significant areas of agroforestry with olive trees (539,000 hectares), vine (276,000 hectares), chestnut (111,000 hectares), carob tree (92,000 hectares), and pine (536,000 hectares). In contrast, few reports were found regarding the area of the recent integration of trees outside of woodlands into arable and livestock systems (about 25,000 ha). This remains a future area of research.
Combining the above suggests that agroforestry in Europe occupies at least 52 million hectares, or at least 10.6 million hectares excluding reindeer husbandry. This value is substantially larger than the 3.3 million hectares categorised as “agroforestry” by the CORINE Land Cover classification. It is argued the difference can be explained by agroforestry also occurring in CORINE classes such as “annual crops associated with permanent crops”, and “agricultural mosaics with significant natural vegetation”. The value of at least 10.6 million hectares represents about 6.5% of the utilised agricultural area in Europe. However the proportion of utilised agricultural land involving agroforestry is reported as varying from about 50% in Greece and Portugal to low values in central and northern Europe.
Despite the shortcomings of the literature study, this report provides an initial distribution and quantification of agroforestry in Europe. Future work will seek to add data from missing areas, and focus on how datasets, such as the Land Use/Cover Area Frame Statistical Survey (LUCAS) can aid the designation of agroforestry areas across Europe.
den Herder, M., Burgess, P.J,., Mosquera-Losada, M.R., Herzog, F., Hartel, T., Upson, M., Viholainen, I. and Rosati, A. (2015). Preliminary stratification and quantification of agroforestry in Europe. Milestone Report 1.1 for EU FP7 Research Project: AGFORWARD 613520. (22 April 2015). 57 pp
For further information on this work, please contact Michael den Herder: email@example.com
Download the reportM1_Stratification of agroforestry.pdf (3.9 MiB)
Despite the shortcomings of the literature study, this report provides an initial distribution and quantification of agroforestry in Europe. This research should be read in conjunction with an analysis of the extent of agroforestry in Europe using the Land Use/Cover Area Frame Statistical Survey (LUCAS).