The Netherlands is witnessing a gradual but steady impoverishment of the landscape. With its focus on intensive, input-oriented crops in a monoculture context, traditional agricultural policy has reduced the capacity of farms to cope with extreme weather events. This was apparent in June 2016 when heavy rainfall flooded large areas of agricultural land in the south of the Netherlands and in Flanders, resulting in considerable crop damage and failed harvests. This highlights the need for the agricultural sector to become more resilient to climate change, which calls for drastic changes to agricultural policy and practice.
The Farm LIFE project aims to create an environment in which farmers, agricultural organisations, entrepreneurs, knowledge institutions, ministries and social partners can exchange practical knowledge and tools that will directly facilitate the transition from conventional monocultures to climate-adaptive forestry. To this end, the target group is being encouraged to organise itself into rural networks that will continue beyond the life of this project. In addition, a transition toolkit is being created for these networks to effectively implement the transition to climate-adaptive forestry or agroforestry. This toolkit will include tools both for the development of adaptive agricultural plans that can be contextualised in different circumstances and for value creation to make agroforestry-based food products more competitive.
Farmer-driven business networks with a focus on sustainable agricultural value chains, in which knowledge is shared and the transition toolkit is used in the transition to climate-adaptive forestry. These networks could also be extended to the whole of the Netherlands, to Belgium and other European countries, where knowledge could be exchanged about the transition to climate-adaptive forestry and the necessary tools.
Professor: Eurídice Leyequién Abarca, Management of Forested Landscapes
Project duration: 2018 – 2023
Project partners: Bosboom BV, Boefkik BV, Flanders Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (ILVO), Horst Beheer BV, Stichting Landgoed De Koekoek, Forestry Service Group BV
The Farm LIFE project (LIFE17 CCA/NL/000093) is funded by the LIFE EU programme.