France – Bouches-du-Rhône: agroforestry project amidst vineyards

Parcels of the Domaine de la forêt © AFAF

Background & challenges

Marie and Olivier, owners and managers, run the La Forêt vineyardin the Bouches-du-Rhône department, located a few kilometres from the city of Arles.

Both are convinced trees have a role to play in the farming system and wish, by introducing them, to create a more pleasant and functional working environment thanks to the protection and shade provided, improve water management, reduce water stress on the grapevines, and prevent problems linked to soil erosion.

This project will begin the transition of the entire estate. For the past two years, a vegetation cover has been installed on the plots of land (a set of plants covering the soil, either permanent or temporary, to protect the soil against erosion, tackle certain kinds of pollution and save on fertilizer for future crops). The vineyard has 190 hectares of vines so will prove a good regional example of the shift to agroforestry in viticulture over large areas. A further 40 hectares or so are used for growing arable crops but will be planted with vines over the long term.

The farmers want to start by planting 1,100 metres of hedgerows and a few isolated trees within the plots, amidst the vines. Hedges already do exist but they are old, not particularly diverse in terms of plant species, damaged, and have gaps in them. The aim is to complete the project with a wide variety of species to create an ideal biotope for biodiversity, the environment, and to protect the grapevines, emblematic of this region!

Planting 1,246 trees of 28 different species on the vineyard plots will deliver many benefits, namely:

  • The trees really do act as air-conditioners at plot level, protecting the vines from the effects of climate change, i.e. excess heat and late frosts, by generating a more humid microclimate and providing shade.
  • Agroforestry trees develop a deep root system because they are competing with the vines. This encourages water to infiltrate thesoil and tackles the risk of erosion.
  • Trees are carbon sinks. They not only help mitigate the effects of climate change, but also contribute to enriching the soil with carbon.
  • Isolated trees and hedgerow trees will create a rich and diverse biodiversity that in turn will produce a variety of different fruit.

Project type

Agroforestry

Beneficiaries

Marie and Olivier, winegrowers in Bouches-du-Rhône

Number of trees

1,246 long-living trees

Species planted

28 different species

Partner

French Agroforestry Association (AFAF)

Micocoulier de Provence – Celtis australis

Montpellier maple – Acer monspessulanum

Pubescent oak – Quercus pubescent

Melias – Melia azedarach

Pedunculate oak – Quercus robur

Field maple – Acer Campistrum

Almond tree – Prunus dulcis

Fig tree – Ficus carica

Holm oak – Quercus ilex

Sage Laurel – Laurus nobilis

Hawthorn – Craetagus monogyra

Azar tree – Crataegus azarolus

White mulberry – Morus alba

White Willow – Salix alba

White ash – Sorbier Aria

Japanese medlar – Eryobotria japonica

Pomegranate – Punica grantum

Pistachio tree – Pistacia vera

Tin laurel – Viburnum Tinus

Shrub tree – Arbustus unédo

Black Elder – Sambuscus nigra

Sea Buckthorn – Hippophae rhamnoides

Blackcurrant – Ribes nigrum

Redcurrant – Ribes rubrum RGE

White currant – Ribes rubrum blanc

Brazilian guava – Feijoa Sellowianna

Rosemary – Romarinus officinalis

Bottlebrush – Callistemon

Parcels of the Domaine de la forêt © AFAF

Works timeline

  • October 2021: soil preparation, plant delivery and staking;
  • November 2021 to January 2022: planting trees on the plots and site launch (farmer, AFAF);
  • November 2022 to March 2024: replanting and first stage of maintenance with tree pruning training;
  • 2023 to 2029: maintenance phases (pruning training 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 €31 150, i.e. €25 per tree planted and long-living, broken down as follows:

  • 95% of which is allocated to the planting project, broken down as follows:
    • Planting and replanting: €1.86
    • Mulching: €2.64
    • Protection and stakes: €4.97
    • Technical advice: €2.92
    • Monitoring over three years: €1.94
    • AFAF coordination, project management and communication costs: €5.8
    • A Tree for You (ATFY) collection, monitoring and communication costs (14. %): €3.62
  • and 5% (€1.25) to cover ATFY’s overheads.

The farmer is self-financing the soil preparation and planting phases, set at €7.18 per tree.

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