Silvopastoral systems are production practices that integrate forestry and livestock production, deliberately on the same land management unit (Peri et al. 2016). A silvopastoral that combines trees and livestock with forage to form a carefully designed system, has gained popularity in recent years as an environmentally friendly alternative land uses that is economically viable.
The Mezzi farm of CREA (Research Centre of Forestry and Wood) in Casale Monferrato (Italy) is located in a bend of the Po river at about 105 m above sea level, covers an area of about 180 hectares. The fields are used for germplasm conservation of poplars and willows, experimental nursery activities and experimental and demonstrative poplars stands besides some meadows and agricultural crops in rotation with nurseries and tree plantations. The soils are of alluvial origin, sandy or sandy-silty located on a predominantly gravelly substratum.
Poplar stands five years old require weed control usually performed by shredding; a different agroforestry system involves cows grazing under poplar crowns. A ten-year experience in the farm Mezzi of Aberdeen Angus grazing under poplar stands with more than 5 years old show the advantages and the benefits of this system. Starting from 1 bull and two cows in calf, thanks to the rustic characteristics of this animal, the herd has developed and reached 40 cattle in ten years.

Walnut species (Juglans spp.) are among the most popular and widely used tree species in tree farming activities, characterized by marketable nuts and high timber quality. Among all the European Countries, Italy, Spain, and France are currently the most active in cultivating walnut trees. In 2016-2019, in the frame of the H2020 Woodnat project (www.woodnat.eu), an investigation on walnut plantations were carried out in Italy and Spain, sampling 96 plantations. For each sampled plantation, a site characterization and description of the planting layout with management type were surveyed. Significant differences were found between the two countries. In Spain prevail pure wide plantations with Hybrid walnut (Juglans x intermedia Mj 209) managed intensively while, in Italy the plantations are smaller, different types are present (pure, mixed, and polycyclic), and Common walnut (Juglans regia) is the dominant species. Based on the experience of Woodnat partners and considering the results of the project, three different silvicultural systems have been identified as the most promising ones: Pure plantations, Polycyclic plantations, and Agroforestry systems. At the beginning of 2019, two paired planting trials were established in Italy, where Hybrid walnut and Common walnut have been tested under two selected silvicultural systems.

Agroforestry aims to achieve productivity according to environmentally sustainable rural development and improve agriculture's sustainable development level (Smith et al. 2012). For many years “modern agriculture” was the synonym of large areas covered by high-yield crop monocultures and massive demand for resources (e.g., fertilizers and pesticides) (Brooker et al. 2015). Researches conducted on trees outside forest (TOF) showed that the presence of such trees is valuable for ecosystem services, such as biodiversity and landscape conservation, carbon sequestration in biomass and soil, pest and pathogen reduction, moderate yield, reduction of soil erosion, and nutrient leaching (Palma et al. 2007, Brooker et al. 2015). Moreover, TOF can also minimize deforestation, forest degradation, reduce wild-fire risk, act as a windbreak, decrease wind damage and limit soil evapotranspiration. Indeed, agroforestry can be used in association with livestock farming, especially in arid environments, since conventional crop cultivation would not guarantee revenue in these fragile ecosystems (Singh et al. 1998).
Surveys conducted by Michele Prevosto (1971) (ex researcher of ISP, now CREA - Research Centre for Forestry and Wood) have been revisited to evaluate the actual feasibility of poplar in agroforestry combined with cash crops (wheat and rice). An update of agricultural practices and prices has been taken into account to assess whether an agroforestry system can positively influence farm incomes.

The programme of the 41st spring meeting of the SPPF includes several presentations on the role of silvopastoralism as an integrated management approach in Portugal, including a round table debating pastoralism and forestry: a possible marriage or inevitable divorce?

The 14th European Farming Systems Conference (IFSA – European Group) will be held in the University of Évora, Portugal, and hosted by the Mediterranean Institute for Agriculture, Environment and Development (MED), from 10 – 14 April 2022, and will focus on Farming Systems Facing Climate Change and Resource Challenges.

Themes include Agroecology as a response to climate change and Landscape integration of farming.

Current VAT tax regulations with particular emphasis on the functioning of the electronic list of VAT taxpayers - the so-called "White list" of taxpayers, the split payment mechanism, the elimination of the obligation to submit separate tax returns in the field of VAT were the main topics of the first part of the conference, which took place on December 5, 2019, at the LODR in Końskowola. The second part of the conference focused on a completely different topic, but also an interesting one, namely agroforestry and tree cover in Poland and the possibility of supporting tree cover in the context of the Common Agricultural Policy 2021-2027. The results of research that can be applied in agricultural practice were presented, as well as innovative ideas for the use of trees in agricultural production to achieve economic, environmental, and social benefits. The research carried out under the AFINET project shows that agroforestry practices may have a beneficial effect on the environment and the yield of crops, positively affect the microclimate of the field, and limit the evaporation of water from agricultural crops. Introducing appropriate species of trees and shrubs in the field is a natural method of pest control, thus limiting the use of pesticides. Trees also increase the accumulation of carbon in the soil.

On December 3, 2021, a scientific seminar on selected aspects of agroforestry took place at the Lublin Agricultural Advisory Center in Końskowola in Eastern Poland. Lecture: "Agricultural and forestry practices in plant production" was presented by Robert Borek from IUNG-PIB, president of OSA. Marcin Wójcik from the OIKOS farm  present "Silvo-pastoral systems in cattle breeding". Łukasz Nowacki, president of the Transformacja Foundation, will present "Functions of trees in rural areas and the production potential of integrated agroforestry systems on the example of the permaculture farm Dolina Mgieł". The participants of the conference will be mainly agricultural advisors, farmers as well as scientists and representatives of NGOs, including members OSA.

On October 13, 2021 in San Matteo delle Chiaviche (Mantua), the technical-informative meeting entitled: "Technical and technological innovations to support precision poplar cultivation" was held, carried out within the 'Precisionpop' project, aimed at  precision forestry applied to poplar production. During the meeting we showed the actors of the poplar supply chain how agroforestry is a valid and sustainable alternative to traditional poplar cultivation for the production of industrial poplar wood.

 

This conference will address the obstacles to the development of mixed crop-livestock systems and the levers to be mobilized to promote them. It will also address the advances in terms of methodological approaches for the study of systems integrating crops and livestock, as well as technical and organizational innovations related to these systems. During 2 days in Dijon in October 2017, the symposium aimed to consolidate the current exchange dynamics on crop-livestock farming, by involving scientific, professional, training and advisory actors, as well as institutional organizations. A call for papers was launched around 3 themes: The diversity of crop-livestock systems and their performances at farm and territory levels Mixed farming: between history, trajectories and future Mixed farming in the daily life of trainers, advisors and politicians

Webinar on The place of trees in animal production in a context of climate change, with Brendan GODOC (Institute of breeding, Researcher - Animator of the WG Breeding of RMT AgroforesterieS), Jean-Charles VICET (Regional Chamber of Agriculture of Pays de la Loire - REUNIR-AF co-referent in Pays de la Loire) and Pauline HERBEMONT (operating director EPLEFPA Lycée agricole d'Aurillac) In livestock systems in particular, the tree (in or around the plot) plays an important role in adapting to climate change: improvement of animal welfare, effects on grass, fodder trees, etc. This webinar will be an opportunity, through three complementary perspectives, to explore recent project results, feedback from breeders, successful experiences in agricultural education

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COORDINATOR
Dr. Sara Burbi - Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience - Coventry University, Ryton Gardens Campus, CV8 LG, UK
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