Vitiforesterie, élevage et agroforesterie, jardin forêt, haies, arbres intraparcellaires, vergers hautes tiges
Agroforestry is the association of trees and crops or animals on the same plot. It is the set of trees present in and around the agricultural plots : tree lines in the plots (intra-parcel agroforestry), hedges and field trees. This ancestral practice is now being promoted because it allows better use of resources, greater biological diversity and the creation of a microclimate favourable to increasing yields.
Several systems exist : bocage forms, meadow orchards, meadow woodlands, vitiforestry, poplar alignments or even walnut tree plantations associated with livestock or other species associated with crops : field crops, market gardening, ...
The tree, through its root system, creates conditions in the deep layers of the soil that favour the supply of water and minerals to crops. Agroforestry techniques allow the trees to be placed in such a way that they favour the crops as much as possible and compete with them as little as possible.
Trees also make it possible to diversify production (by capitalising on the long term).
Agroforestry is thus becoming an essential component of the agroecological project for France, also contributing to the "4 for 1000" initiative, by enriching the soil in organic matter and storing carbon by the different parts of the trees associated with crops or livestock.
Engaging in an agroforestry project can bring multiple benefits and advantages but requires advice and technical support to make the project a success in every respect. Rethinking the tree or hedge within a farm does not only have landscape benefits. Its maintenance and establishment bring many benefits :
Soil stability and fertility
- Protection against soil erosion.
- Structuring of the soil and stabilisation of aggregates by the roots.
- Contribution of organic matter by falling leaves and fine tree roots which can be mineralised (humus).
- Alteration of the bedrock by the roots. This leads to the creation of clay and the release of mineral elements into the soil water.
- Soil nutrition through the development of root networks and mycorrhizal symbioses.
- Recharge of the useful soil reserve, improvement of infiltration and reduction of surface runoff.
- Reduction of water losses through evaporation.
- Reduction of nitrate leakage into deep soil layers, thus reducing groundwater pollution.
- Purification of water and soil pollutants (heavy metals, lead, etc.) that can be incorporated into the leaf tissue.
- Increased humidity through windbreak effect and shade from the foliage. This protects the surrounding crops and reduces their irrigation.
Mitigation and adaptation to climate change
- Mitigation of climate change through CO2 absorption and carbon storage.
- Adaptation to the effects of climate change : creation of microclimates by trees that limit the negative effects of warming on field crops.
- Shelter for animals from heat stress and bad weather.
- Reduction of stress.
- Can be used as a feed supplement.
Landscape quality and living environment
- Structuring, aesthetics of the landscape.
- Comfort at work (shade).
In addition to all these advantages, there is also the potential economic value of the wood produced. There are various outlets for the wood :
- Energy wood.
- Fruit (if orchards) and other food production.
- Shavings in bedding as a substitute for straw in livestock farming.
- Ramial Chipped Wood.
Agroforestry is a real challenge for the viability of territories, the sustainability of agriculture and the quality of our landscapes.
What are agroforestry trees?
Agroforestry trees are those that are not in forests. They are : copses, hedges, riverbanks, alignments, mails, trees in fields and paths, and domestic trees that accompany houses.
How to be supported in your agroforestry project?
Developing and integrating an economically and agronomically efficient agroforestry system on your farm cannot be improvised. In order to succeed, many criteria must be taken into account. For example, it is necessary to determine the species to be planted, the planting density, theorientation and the distance between the rows of trees. These choices also depend on the farmer's objectives, soil constraints, the production system, the size of the agricultural machinery working on the crops, etc.
Organisations such as the Chambers of Agriculture can assist farmers with their agroforestry projects, from the design of the tree or hedge planting project to the development of fruit, timber or energy wood. Advisors can answer legal or regulatory questions about the place of the tree on the farm, about CAP obligations or about national, regional or local aid measures from which you can benefit
Can an agroforestry project really be profitable?
The economic returns of an agroforestry project are often the subject ofpreconceived ideas, particularly with regard to the impact of competition between tree and crop areas. During the first twenty years, only the production area occupied by the tree lines is lost (2 to 8%). Then, by intelligently designing the project from the start (orientation and spacing, adaptation of the intercropping, etc.), the drop in yield of the intercropping can be minimised. It should not be forgotten that agroforestry systems potentially allow : additional income from the trees (sale of fruit, energy wood or timber, etc.), better zootechnical performance due to improved animal welfare, and even lower costs due to reduced input and irrigation requirements. In most known cases, the gross margin is improved!
Self-consumption of wood energy or wood shavings for bedding can also be profitable. According to Loïc Gourvil, a milk producer in Finistère and winner of the 2020 national agroforestry competition in the management category : "the production of 100 tonnes of dry wood per year is equivalent to the consumption of 36,000 litres of fuel oil, which allows us to produce more heating source than we consume".
What support is available for agroforestry projects?
To encourage the planting of trees on plots of land, aid is granted to farmers at the level of certain départements, regions and local authorities. regions or through European credits (CAP sub-measures 4.4 and 8.2, if they are open in the region, can finance a large part of the investment in tree and hedge planting). The government is mobilising €50 million as part of its recovery plan through the " Planting hedges " operation. Its objective is to plant 7,000 km of hedges and intra-parcel trees over the period 2021-2022, i.e. to double the annual agroforestry planting capacity. According to Ademe, the development potential of agroforestry on a national scale by 2030 is estimated at 400,000 ha of agroforestry plots and 1.8 M ha of hedges.
How can we find out about the impact and success of concrete achievements?
Each farming system is different and therefore requires certain adaptations. However, the General Agricultural Competition of Agroecological Practices "Agroforestry" highlights each year farmers who have been particularly successful in their projects in several categories. It will be easy to get in touch with the winners to collect their testimonies and experiences. The Chambers of Agriculture coordinate with INRAE and many other research, development and training networks, a Mixed Technological Network (RMT AgroforestryS) whose objective is to collect and widely disseminate technical and economic knowledge of agroforestry systems in order to make it available to producers.
Articles dans cette thématique
To find out more
- Guide to drawing up agroforestry management plans - agrireseau.net
- Agroforestry elements in agricultural areas - CDAF
- Refining your agroforestry project : choice of species and planting - InPACT 37
- Which trees to choose in agroforestry? - Transgal
- Agroforestry to manage poultry runs - Agroforesterie Association Française
- Agroforestry and cattle farming - Agroforestry Association Française
- Agroforestry and pig farming, produce and protect - Agroforesterie Association Française
- Agroforestry in field crops : produce more and better on the same plot - Agroforestry Association Française
- Agroforestry and market gardening: produce and protect - Agroforesterie Association Française
- Agroforestry in vineyards - IFV Occitanie
- French Association for Trees and Agroforestry - Afac-Agroforesteries