France – Loire-Atlantique: introducing fruit trees to plots of land with cereal crops

Jeremy in front of his herd © Launay

This project is already funded!

Background & challenges

Jérémy is an arable and livestock farmer. He settled on the farm in 2016 and has been organic since 2019. His main activity is growing organic cereal crops, to feed his herd of cows, amongst other things.

Jérémy sees himself a man of the land, i.e. as being active in the farming world, very much focused on self-sufficiency and DIY – both in terms of seeds and observing changes in rurality, the life of the soil, and adapting to these changes. So it made perfect sense for him to adopt an agro-ecological approach to safeguard the sustainability of his farm against climate hazards. Convinced that to reap all the benefits from agricultural systems trees must be restored, he already did some agroforestry planting over nine hectares in 2019, to improve comfort for his herd in the summer, as well as boosting grass growth in dry periods, while taking advantage of the richer soil thanks to the trees.

Keen to continue this approach, he has decided to plant five hedges on his plots to encourage biodiversity and provide wind protection for his crops. To ensure these hedges play the dual role of protection and production, Jérémy plans to plant fruit trees – the objective being to add value to this fruit production by selling it on the farm, depending on the harvest volumes.

Planting 1,000 trees will also tackle various environmental issues, namely:

  • Preserving biodiversity: planting these trees will provide shelter and food for a rich and diverse fauna, as well as an important support for the local flora. The planted hedges will help strengthen the green screens and so facilitate movement of wildlife in the area
  • Protecting crops and livestock from the wind, which, whether cold or stormy, is the enemy of crops, animals, and houses. Farmers have always used hedges to curb the wind
  • Creating a microclimate: trees play an important role in creating a microclimate, which benefits both livestock and farmers

Project type

Agroforestry

Beneficiaries

Jérémy, an arable and livestock farmer in the Loire-Atlantique department of France

Number of trees

A total of 1,176 trees to be planted to obtain 1,000 long-lasting trees

Species planted

35 different species

Partner

French Agroforestry Association (AFAF)

Corm tree 2, field maple 10, oak 10, chestnut 8, small-leaf lime 25, hornbeam 70, cherry 5, black cherry 20, pedunculate oak 25, field elm 65, black poplar 10, aspen 5, March willow 15, white willow 20, hawthorn 90, wild rose 10, common privet 30, common buckthorn 19, black elder 55, blackthorn 120, medlar 4, European charcoal 90, hazel 155, blood dogwood 160, buckthorn 60, red willow 93.

As well as 12 apple trees, 12 pear, 12 walnut, 12 apricot, 12 plum, 8 chestnut, 8 fig, 5 peach,  and 6 cherry.

Preparatory work for planting a fifth hedge © Launay

Works timeline

1st segment (hedges one, two, three & four):

  • Soil preparation and staking in November 2020
  • Plant delivery and preparation from January to early March 2021
  • Site supervision and planting from January to April 2021
  • Monitoring the plantations (recovery rates, mortality, monitoring protective measures, etc.) in November 2021, November 2022, and November 2023
  • Trimming and pruning (green trimming) in summer 2022, summer 2023, summer 2025, and summer 2028.

2nd segment (hedge 5):

  • Soil preparation work and staking in November 2021
  • Plant delivery and preparation from January to early March 2022
  • Site supervision and planting from January to March 2022
  • Monitoring the plantations (recovery rates, mortality, monitoring protective measures, etc.) in November 2022, November 2023, and November 2024
  • Trimming and pruning (green trimming) in summer 2023, summer 2024, summer 2027 and summer 2029.

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 €20,000, or €20 per perennial tree, broken down as follows:

  • Of which 95% is allocated to the planting project as follows:
    • Plants and replanting: €2.80
    • Mulching: €2
    • Protection and stakes: €2.40
    • Technical advice: €2
    • Monitoring over three years: €1.05
    • Coordination, project management and communications by AFAF: €5.8
    • A Tree for You collection, monitoring and communications costs (14.75%): €2.95
  • and 5% (€1) for A Tree for You structural costs

The farmer is self-financing soil preparation, mulching, planting and maintenance of the plantations to the sum of €5.6 per tree, i.e. 28% of the total project cost.

They donated to support this project in 2021:

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