France – Alpes de Hautes Provence: agroforestry project for perfume, aromatic and medicinal plants

Marion's plantation plot © AFAF

Background & challenges

Formerly a general practitioner, Marion has made a professional reconversion to get closer to her two passions: health and nature. She started farming and harvests perfumed, aromatic and medicinal plants (PPAM) on her plots. These include thyme, rosemary, savory, calendula, lemon verbena, licorice, mint, basil, white stock, lemon balm and lavender.

Marion has integrated collective agricultural approaches and is at the origin of the creation of the Groupement d’intérêt économique et Environnemental (Economic and Environmental Interest Grouping), which is called Pack’à PPAM: groups of producers of diversified PPAM, in organic agriculture, on small surfaces in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. The objective is to structure the local sector, share knowledge, support each other, help each other, make group purchases, build small equipment adapted to the needs of the crops together and organise a common marketing channel.

The aim of this project is to structure the landscape by developing a crop of perfume, aromatic and medicinal plants that is resilient, respects the soil and preserves water resources. The farmer turned to agroforestry to meet these challenges, while at the same time bringing biodiversity to her plots.

The installation of 693 trees of 33 different species directly on the plots or around them as hedges will provide a large number of benefits:

  • Improvement of the organic matter rate and limitation of soil drying. Soil cover will enable the carbon and nitrogen cycle to be revived, as well as the benefits provided by the presence of soil macrofauna (earthworms for example) and mycorrhizal fungi. All these elements will contribute to making the system more sustainable because it is more autonomous and respectful of the soil.
  • Diversification of biodiversity, by allowing the arrival of crop auxiliaries in the plots while feeding the fauna already present. The various tree elements will also serve as shelter, food and passage for the animals.
  • Creation of a local and organic sector of perfume, aromatic and medicinal plants in the region.

Project type

Agroforestry

Beneficiaries

Marion, farmer in the Alpes de Hautes Provence region

Number of trees

693 long-living trees

Species planted

33 different species

Partner

French Agroforestry Association (AFAF)

Elderberry – Arbustus unédo

Black Elder – Sambuscus nigra

Sea buckthorn – Hippophae rhamnoides

Blackcurrant – Ribes nigrum

Red currant – Ribes rubrum RGE

White currant – Ribes rubrum white

White gooseberry – Ribes uva-crispa white

Red gooseberry – Ribes uva-crispa red

Spanish broom – Spartium junceum

Coronilla – Coronilla

Serviceberry – Amelanchier ovalis

Blood dogwood – Cornus sanguinéa

Juniper – Junipérus communis

Cherry – Prunus cerassus

Almond tree – Prunis dulcis

Plum, wild – Prunus domestica

Plum – Pyrus species

Hawthorn – Craetagus monogyra

Holm oak – Quercus ilex

Sauce laurel – Laurus nobilis

White mulberry – Morus alba

Black mulberry – Morus nigra

White ash – Sorbier aria

Japanese medlar – Eryobotria japonica

Quince tree – Cydonia oblonga

Apple fruit tree – Malus

Provence hackberry – Celtis australis

Montpellier maple – Acer monspessulanum

Pubescent oak – Quercus pubescent

Common walnut – Junglans regia

Common pear – Pyrus communis

Pomegranate – Punica grantum

Pistachio tree – Pistacia vera

Plot of perfumed, aromatic and medicinal plants © AFAF

Works timeline

  • October 2021: soil preparation, reception of plants and staking
  • November 2021 to January 2022: planting of trees within the plots with a launch of the site (farmer, AFAF, local partners and members of the GIEE)
  • November 2022 to March 2024: replanting and first stage of maintenance with formation pruning of the trees
  • 2023 to 2029: maintenance stages (formation pruning and pruning)

Planting partner

The French Agroforestry Association (AFAF), set up in 2007 under 1901 French law, develops agroforestry in France for farming, in the political sphere, and with the general public. It is a platform for exchange and partnerships between farmers, agroforestry operators, researchers, political decision-makers, local authorities, and administrative bodies. The AFAF puts forward recommendations at both national and international levels and works to restore trees to farming systems.Within this project, AFAF is in charge of technical follow-up with beneficiaries over time and providing information needed for communications.

Budget

The total budget to be collected is 22€, i.e. 15 246€ per tree planted and perennial, broken down as follows :

  • 95% of which is allocated to the planting project, broken down as follows
    • Plants and replanting: €2.30
    • Mulching: €1.21
    • Protection and stakes: €2.9
    • Technical advice: €3.4
    • Monitoring over 3 years: € 2.00
    • Coordination, project management and communication of the AFAF: 5,8 €.
    • Collection, monitoring and communication costs of A Tree For You (14,94%): 3,29 €.
  • and 5% (€1.10) for the structural costs of A Tree for You.

The farmer is self-financing the soil preparation and planting phases, set at €6.00 per tree.

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