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Linking sustainable practices throughout Europe

[EXP] Advocating for the reincorporation of trees and the ecological services of forests into modern agricultural practices.

Trees as inspiration for collaborative CAP talk. Woods exemplify problems and potential of European farming

Rural topic(s): Agroecology and agroforestry

Type: Success story

Date of writing: September 12, 2012

Author(s) of this page: Patrick Chalmers

Organization(s): Arbre & Paysage 32 - (Tree and Landscape), AFAF (French Agroforestry Association)


Alain Canet, director of the association Arbre & Paysage 32 in Southwest France, explains how simple, practical changes in thinking and practice - related to trees - could bring both economic and environmental benefits to European farmers and the land they work.


Advocating for the reincorporation of trees and the ecologicial services of forests into modern agricultural practices.

By allowing self-seeding, native trees to grow in uncultivated bands alongside water courses farmers and those around them would gain multiple benefits. Current practice sees such areas periodically mown to prevent weed growth, destroying tree seedlings that could in time provide shade for stock animals as well as improved soil fertility and organic content, water retention and surface soil protection. They would also play a role in capturing carbon, locally and cheaply.

Such practices, combined with the principles of agro-forestry and the re-planting of previously grubbed up native species hedges to delineate smaller fields, would help restore local biodiversity and soil fertility while mitigating many of the other problems brought about by modern agricultural practices.


Alain is an inspiring speaker and advocate for the reincorporation of trees and the ecologicial services of forests into modern agricultural practices. The Association of which he is a part works to foster and encourage constructive dialogue between parties that may not always know or trust one another, despite having much more in common than they imagine. The approach is holistic, non-confrontational and intent on breaking from separate, sectoral treatments of the challenges facing all rural actors.


Source of the information: author visit on September 5, 2012 that included extended conversation, questioning and video interviews in the context of the Sustainable Mystery Tour 2012.


Alain Canet,

Arbre & Paysage 32



Scale of intervention : Regional

Keywords: agroforestry, territorial dialogue, agricultural policy, locally-based economy, Sustainable Mystery Tour 2012, ecosystem services, landscape preservation, biodiversity conservation, hedges, improving soil quality, woodland creation

Places: France

Actors: association

Methods: training workshop, field trip, outdoor learning, raising awareness, technical assistance, recommendation, advocacy

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