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Agroforestry Systems

, Volume 92, Issue 4, pp 811–828 | Cite as

Farmers’ reasoning behind the uptake of agroforestry practices: evidence from multiple case-studies across Europe

  • M. Rois-DíazEmail author
  • N. Lovric
  • M. Lovric
  • N. Ferreiro-Domínguez
  • M. R. Mosquera-Losada
  • M. den Herder
  • A. Graves
  • J. H. N. Palma
  • J. A. Paulo
  • A. Pisanelli
  • J. Smith
  • G. Moreno
  • S. García
  • A. Varga
  • A. Pantera
  • J. Mirck
  • P. Burgess
Article

Abstract

Potential benefits and costs of agroforestry practices have been analysed by experts, but few studies have captured farmers’ perspectives on why agroforestry might be adopted on a European scale. This study provides answers to this question, through an analysis of 183 farmer interviews in 14 case study systems in eight European countries. The study systems included high natural and cultural value agroforestry systems, silvoarable systems, high value tree systems, and silvopasture systems, as well as systems where no agroforestry practices were occurring. A mixed method approach combining quantitative and qualitative approaches was taken throughout the interviews. Narrative thematic data analysis was performed. Data collection proceeded until no new themes emerged. Within a given case study, i.e. the different systems in different European regions, this sampling was performed both for farmers who practice agroforestry and farmers who did not. Results point to a great diversity of agroforestry practices, although many of the farmers are not aware of the term or concept of agroforestry, despite implementing the practice in their own farms. While only a few farmers mentioned eligibility for direct payments in the CAP as the main reason to remove trees from their land, to avoid the reduction of the funded area, the tradition in the family or the region, learning from others, and increasing the diversification of products play the most important role in adopting or not agroforestry systems.

Keywords

Interviews Narrative thematic analysis Driving forces Farming 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This work was funded through the AGFORWARD Project from the European Union´s Seventh Framework Programme for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration under Grant Agreement no. 613520. The views and opinions expressed in this article are purely those of the writers and may not in any circumstances be regarded as stating an official position of the European Commission. Further, the work has also been supported by the Xunta de Galicia, Consellería de Cultura, Educación e Ordenación Universitaria (Programa de axudas á etapa posdoutoral DOG no 122, 29/06/2016 p.27443, exp: ED481B 2016/071-0). The authors would like to thank the contribution from the AGFORWARD project partners involved in performing the interviews in the field and their transcription. We would like to express also our sincere gratitude to all the farmers who accepted dedicating part of their valuable time to the interviews. Without such contributions and commitment, the study would have not been feasible.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Rois-Díaz
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • N. Lovric
    • 1
  • M. Lovric
    • 1
  • N. Ferreiro-Domínguez
    • 2
    • 4
  • M. R. Mosquera-Losada
    • 2
  • M. den Herder
    • 1
  • A. Graves
    • 3
  • J. H. N. Palma
    • 4
  • J. A. Paulo
    • 4
  • A. Pisanelli
    • 5
  • J. Smith
    • 6
  • G. Moreno
    • 7
  • S. García
    • 3
  • A. Varga
    • 8
  • A. Pantera
    • 9
  • J. Mirck
    • 10
  • P. Burgess
    • 3
  1. 1.European Forest InstituteJoensuuFinland
  2. 2.Crop Production Departament, Escuela Politécnica Superior de LugoUniversity of Santiago de CompostelaLugoSpain
  3. 3.Cranfield UniversityCranfieldUK
  4. 4.Centro de Estudos Florestais, Instituto Superior de AgronomiaUniversidade de Lisboa, Tapada da AjudaLisbonPortugal
  5. 5.Institute of Agro-Environmental and Forest BiologyNational Research CouncilPoranoItaly
  6. 6.The Organic Research Centre, Elm FarmNewburyUK
  7. 7.Forestry School – INDEHESAUniversidad de ExtremaduraPlasenciaSpain
  8. 8.MTA Centre for Ecological ResearchVácrátótHungary
  9. 9.Department of Forestry and Natural Environment ManagementTEI of Central GreeceKarpenisiGreece
  10. 10.Brandenburg University of TechnologyCottbusGermany

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