A review of support offered in 14 Member States and the need to do more if the EU is to meet its 2030 GHG targets
by Gerry Lawson
A step forward for agroforestry in the current CAP is that all Member States (MS) now have a national definition of what the term means for them – on arable land, permanent crops and permanent grassland (Policy Briefing #22). MS also clarified rules for “landscape features”, including lines of trees, hedges, groups of trees, and isolated trees, including permitted group sizes and spacings (Policy Briefing #21). It is now clear that, for most MS, “woody-landscape-features” are indeed a form of agroforestry, and MS will report annually – as part of Result Indicator 17 – on both the area of new agroforestry established (including the agricultural areas) and the area of the lines of newly planted landscape feature trees. Not all MS will do this, however, since in 6-7 countries forestry and agroforestry are financed from outside the CAP and they give no information for Result Indicator 17 (Policy Briefing #19).
Explicit support for agroforestry is disappointingly low in the 14 MS analysed: ecoschemes in 2 MS, Pillar II – AECM schemes in 4MS, Pillar II Investment schemes in 6MS. (Figure 1) Even in these cases, most schemes have been adopted by only a few regions, or are very poorly funded. For example, the agroforestry eco-scheme in Germany paid only €60 euros/ha and attracted a total of 55 farmers in its first year! Nevertheless, many Member States are still developing their CAP schemes and rules, and the eligibility of AF for some measures remains to be tested. MS are required to review their CAP Strategic Plans by the end of 2023 to ensure that they will generate the national share of the -310 MtCO2e EU sequestration for 2030 stipulated in the revised LULUCF Regulation (May 2023). Collectively, the CAP plans fall far short of this – especially in the area of afforestation and agroforestation (Policy Briefing #26). Hopefully, Member States will take the opportunity to correct this before the end of 2023.
Agroforestry Policies in 14 EU Member States are being tracked by participants in the Horizon Europe DigitAF Project and will be published as EURAF Policy Briefings (#31 to #44) by the end of October. Policy briefings for the other Member States will be added by EURAF members. If you can help with these please contact Gerry Lawson on policy (at) euraf.net
Figure 1. Initial analysis of support for agroforestry in the 14 Member States represented in the EU DigitAF project. Ecoschemes are single-year Pillar I payments which can be used for small-scale tree planting or maintenance. AECMs are Agri-Environment-Climate-Measures which give annual payments for 5-8 years; INVEST measures are single year payments to establish trees. However, in countries where rural development (i.e. Pillar II of the CAP) is decided federally, the agroforestry option has only been selected by 1-4 regions. For cells marked “(y)” eligibility of agroforestry for measures is ambiguous.