France – Charente department: agroforestry project in vineyards in the Cognac region

Hedges already planted by Pierre to serve as "windbreaks" © Buraud

This project is already funded!

Background & challenges

Pierre is a winegrower and cognac producer. He comes from a family, Maison Dudognon, that has been in the business since 1776, The estate, classified  Premier Cru in the Cognac region, grows Ugni blanc, Folle blanche and Montils grape varieties over 12 hectares of limestone soil.

The business is entirely organic and is interested in plant cover in viticulture (a set of plants covering the soil permanently or temporarily to protect the soil from erosion, tackle certain types of pollution, and save on fertiliser for future crops). Since 2020, some plots of land have been planted with rye, clover, or a vetch/oat mixture up until havest time.

Convincedtrees have a role to play in the farming system, Pierre has started reintroducting to his farm. Indeed, the winegrower has already planted a 320-metre double hedge, in March 2021, to separate his plot from that of his neighbour, to reforest the landscape, and encourage biodiversity.

For this new planting project, which plans two new plantation, Pierre needs more support.

On plot 1, the project aims to introduce trees to a new plot that will have 720 vines, in order to benefit from the many profits provided by the trees,  while producing fruit (mainly apples) amidst the vines.

The 86 trees will be planted over the winter of 2021/2022. The 720 vines will be planted on the plot in spring 2022.

On plot 2, the objective, during the winter of 2022/2023, is to introduce new hedge plantations around a vineyard plot, as well as planting isolated trees on the plot to tackle frosts.

For this, Pierre plans to plant 342 trees and shrubs. New vines will then be planted on this plot in the spring of 2023 – not be financed by A Tree for You donors but by Pierre himself.

Planting 428 trees of about ten different species amidst these 720 new vines will deliver many benefits:

  • For the Cognac appellation, global warming is impacting the quality of the wines used for distilling cognac by increasing their alcoholic content – which needs to remain low for better concentration of the aromatic substances in the cognac. Trees therefore play the role of natural  ‘air conditioning’ on the plots, protecting the vines from the effects of climate change by creating a microclimate and providing them with shade.
  • Agroforestry trees develop a deep root system, driven by competition with the vines. Thisfavours infiltration and stocking of water in the soil – vital in the light of climate change.
  • Trees are carbon sinks. They not only help mitigate the impacts of climate change, but also contribute to enriching the soil with carbon.
  • Trees and hedgerows will create a rich and diverse biodiversity leading to fruit production.

Project type

Agroforestry

Beneficiaries

Pierre, winegrower and Cognac producer in Charente

Number of trees

428 planted and perennial

Species planted

About 10 different species

Partner

French Agroforestry Association (AFAF)

Plot 1

Hornbeam – carpinus betilus 4

Walnut – juglans regia 4

Cormier – sorbus domestica 4

Field maple – Acer Campistrum 4

Chickweed – Sorbus torminalis 2

Blood dogwood – cornus sanguinea 13

Lantana violet – Viburnum lantana L. 13

Blackthorn – Prunus spinosa L. 12

Grafted fruit trees (nursery supply sources are being studied) Apple – malus sylvestris

Pear – Pyrus communis 21

 

Plot 2

Hornbeam – carpinus betilus 8

Walnut – juglans regia 8

Cormier – sorbus domestica 8

Field maple – Acer Campistrum 8

Trees – Sorbus torminalis 9

Blood dogwood – cornus sanguinea 54

Lantana violet – Viburnum lantana L. 54

Blackthorn – Prunus spinosa L. 54

Grafted fruit trees (nursery supply sources are being studied) Apple – malus sylvestris

Pear – Pyrus communis 96

Pierre, winegrower and cognac producer in Charente © Buraud

Works timeline

Plot 1:

  • October 2021: soil preparation, plant delivery, and staking;
  • November 2021 to January 2022: planting trees on the plot and site launch (farmer, AFAF);
  • Spring 2022: planting the vines;
  • November 2022 to March 2024: replanting and first stage of maintenance with formative pruning of trees;
  • 2023 to 2029: maintenance stages (formative pruning and trimming).

Plot 2:

  • October 2022: soil preparation, plant delivery, and staking;
  • November 2022 to January 2023: planting trees on the plot and site launch (farmer, AFAF);
  • Spring 2023: planting vines on the plot (funded by the Pierre);
  • November 2022 to March 2024: replanting and first maintenance stage with formative pruning of trees;
  • 2023 to 2029: maintenance stages (formative pruning and trimming).

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 amounts to €10,764.20, or €25.15 per tree, broken down as follows

  • 95% of which is allocated to the planting project:
    • Plants and replanting: €2.19
    • Mulching: €2.30
    • Protection and stakes: €4.97
    • Technical advice: €2.92
    • Monitoring over three years: €1.94
    • Coordination, project management, and communication: €5.8
    • Collection, monitoring, and communication costs for A Tree for You (15%): €3.77
  • and 5% (€1.26) for A Tree for You’s overheads.

Concerning the tree planting itself, the budget excludes self-financing by the farmer for the planting and soil preparation stages, planned as follows:

  • Soil preparation €3.8
  • Mulching / planting / protection €1.8
  • Staking €0.70
  • Maintenance, pruning, and replanting €1.40

Total for the 428 trees is €3,295.60.

This means A Tree For You is responsible for 76% of the tree planting budget.

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