Wikimedia Commons

The French Ministry for Agriculture and Food organized with its partners the fourth annual Agroforestry Day, which this year had the theme of agroforestry and climate change. The meeting managed to achieve all of its goals, bringing together nearly 200 people from the agroforestry sectors and allowing for an exchange of the latest research developments in the field.

This day, moderated by the journalist Frédéric Denhez, was an opportunity to address the performance of the agroforestry development plan (2015-2020), three years after its launch. The goal of this plan is to develop and sustainably manage agroforestry, in all of its forms and in all corners of France, and is one of the tools in France’s agro-ecological plan. The main finding is about the strengthening of concerned networks and organizations.

Among the important outcomes, in part linked to the existence of the plan, is the maintenance of “bocage” landscapes (a tradition of surrounding small farmland parcels with hedges, characteristic of the Normandy region). This aims to identify and characterize all the bocages of France. Started in 2017, it will allow for obtaining, between the end of 2019 and summer 2020, a precise picture of bocage landscapes, mapped and quantified. This will make up the basis of further monitoring of hedgerows.

Another gain: the ministries of agriculture and the environment recruited, in June 2018, a landscape architect, who will lead a study designed to create bridge between agroforestry and the landscape. The goal is to move towards concrete landscape measures that could be applied to agroforestry projects and their evaluation by relevant authorities.

The Bercé Forest (Wikimedia Commons)

During this day, just after the COP24 (24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), the organizers wished to highlight the links that exist between agroforestry and climate change. Other than some contextual elements on the state of research on the subject and the links that already exist at the political level, three themes in particular were spoken about. These include the role that agroforestry can play in mitigating climate change, the agroforestry solutions for adapting to climate change, and the question of multi-functionality and the resiliency of trees in their own right.

After three years of work, the plan for agroforestry development has implemented an important part of its planned activities. This work must continue, for example, to better understand in a deeper way the different agroforestry systems, on the national level, and to support development of projects at the local level. The territorial decentralization of the plan is happening today through the launching of consultation with volunteer local governments, and certain ones have already advanced quite a bit on the subject (the island of Réunion, Normandy, Corsica, etc.). It will almost certainly be a development goal as part of the upcoming 2020-2025 plan.