It is with great sadness that we must share the news of the passing of our colleague and friend, Dr. Andrea Pisanelli, who succumbed to an insidious and deadly enemy after a year-long and very courageous battle.
Andrea’s love for agroforestry was kindled early. He moved to Porano, Umbria soon after graduating in Forestry Sciences from the University of Padua, to join the CNR, the Institute of Research on Terrestrial Ecosystems (formerly CNR-Institute for Agrosilviculture), where he carried out research for almost 30 years amongst his beloved olive groves.
While primarily a researcher, Andrea never lost track of the importance of the social and economic contexts, within which agroforestry would develop. He was involved in countless national and international agroforestry research projects and dedicated his extraordinary mind to the analysis and development of the policies and social systems governing agroforestry implementation in Italy and Europe (he joined EURAF right at the start, being elected as the federation’s first Italian delegate by his colleagues).
His research activities progressed from European hardwood plantation forestry systems to agroforestry systems in tropical Africa. He studied the development of value chains for sweet chestnut varieties from the mountainous centre of Italy, the set up and performance of Mediterranean agroforestry systems in the Middle East, all the while actively promoting participatory research efforts in European projects and in Italian cooperation activities in Brazil and North Africa.
What many will remember most about Andrea is his extraordinary kindness. He was a quiet, humble man, who gave everyone he interacted with, whether credentialled professor or young student, the full force of his gentle attention. Andrea was always there, in the present, with all he encountered, and he never hesitated to offer his help to those who needed it. Kind, helpful and generous, and a delightful companion over a glass of good Umbrian wine.
He was born in Cesena, in Romagna, but it was the countryside of the gentle Umbrian hills that he called home. He could be found spending quiet, relaxing hours amongst his olive trees, tending to his small vineyard and vegetable patch, an old straw hat to protect him from the sun. To those who knew him well, it may well be the gentleness with which he tended to his garden that will remain their most treasured memory.
We’ll miss you, Andrea, esteemed colleague and dear friend. All of us at EURAF have marvellous memories of the days spent in your company during our frequent collaborations across the continent. We’ll treasure the memory of your delicacy, and of the way your rough-and-ready demeanour, always, but always!, revealed a respectful, kind, and smiling man. You were a true hero of agroforestry.
A farewell ceremony is planned for his friends and relatives at his beloved olive grove.
Ciao Andrea! We are proud to have known you, and humbly commit to continue your work here on Earth, as you smile on us from high above.
On behalf of the EURAF board,
Patrick Worms and Francesca Camilli