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Transfer of the National Office of Forests affects the promotion and implementation of new agroforestry systems in Portugal

The Portuguese delegates of the Executive Committee from the European Agroforestry Federation (EURAF) are concerned about the transfer of the National Office of Forests from the Portuguese Ministry of Agriculture, Forest and Rural Development to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Action, as a result of the new government constitution after the election held on 6th of October 2019.

In a crucial moment for the Common Agricultural Policy Post 2020, we believe that the separation of the agriculture and forestry departments may compromise the articulation of a national position for agroforestry systems, that ultimately should be strong and coherent, to support the fight to reduce carbon emissions, to  increase biodiversity, and promote the economic and social development of rural areas.

One example will be the difficulty to take advantage of the Post 2020 CAP for the redefinition of the eligibility criteria for the measure that will continue the current Measure 8.1.2., in particular on the definition of agroforestry system typologies and tree species considered eligible. This measure has been systematically focusing on a small proportion of agroforestry systems, species and combinations. Only a close working relationship between the two sectors will support an increase in the establishment of other agroforestry systems, ranging from hedges, wind breaks, alley cropping systems for biomass or fruit production…, to permaculture systems.

With relevant work at the European level, EURAF is available to collaborate in this process at the national level, working towards increasing the connection of the forestry, agriculture, animal production and environmental sectors.