France – Nouvelle-Aquitaine: integrating trees into free range poultry farming

Planting trees near a fixed poultry house © AFAF

Background & challenges

In the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of France, two cooperatives are helping poultry farmers change their farming practices and turn to agroforestry. These organisations, thanks to their good integration and their bridging role on the territory, identify the farmers interested in the project and facilitate support for groups of farmers during workshops and field visits.

The aim is to support and structure on a larger scale the transition of poultry farms to agroforestry by proposing farmers introduce trees to their farms.

The ‘active’ chicken run should allow for combined poultry farming and tree planting on the same plot of land. Within the runs, different types of trees of several different species, including fruit species, are planted as hedges, small copses, or in rows on the plot.

The advantages and objectives of ‘active’ chicken runs are numerous:

  • improved animal welfare and protection of poultry (less stress, predators, wind, bad weather, heat),
  • increased biodiversity thanks to significant diversification of species
  • diversification of production (fruit, biomass, timber)
  • diversification of food sources for poultry (fruit fallen from trees),
  • protection of water resources and curbing of diffuse pollution.

Well-designed ‘active’ chicken runs also reconcile farmers with consumers and local inhabitants and give them a sense of pride in their work and farming practices.

The success of these projects depends on support adapted to each case (mobile huts or fixed building), taking into account the limitations and opportunities of each project and objectives of each farmer.

This first project, launched in 2022 with the French Association of Agroforestry (AFAF), aims to support seven farmers and plant 3,570 trees of about 40 different species in the French region of New-Aquitaine.

Project type

Agroforestry

Beneficiaries

Seven farmers in the New-Aquitaine region:

Arnaud, Emmanuel, Jean-François, Quentin, Rodolphe, Thierry, Vanessa

Number of trees

3,585 planted,f which 3,570 long-living.

Species planted

About 40 different species

Partner

French Agroforestry Association (AFAF)

Arnaud:

Field maple Acer campestre 2

March willow Salix capraea 2

Myrobolan plum Salix capraea 2

Black walnut Morus nigra 3

Hornbeam Carpinus betulus 20

Blackthorn Prunus spinosa 16

Hazelnut Corylus avellana 15

Blood dogwood Cornus sanguinea 17

Ivy Viburnum opulus 17

Red willow Salix atrocinerea 10

Black Elder Sambucus nigra 9

Small-leafed lime Tilia cordata 20

Cherry Prunus avium 15

Cormier Sorbus domestica 15

Weeping birch Betula pendula 20

Resistant elm Ulmus resista ‘Lutece’ 15

Common walnut Juglans regia 25

Chickweed Sorbus torminalis 25

Field maple Acer campestre 25

Quince Cydonia oblonga 23

March willow Salix capraea 20

Domestic plum Prunus domestica 20

Hornbeam Carpinus betulus 30

Blackthorn Prunus spinosa 82

Hazelnut Corylus avellana 83

Blood dogwood Cornus sanguinea 83

Ivy Viburnum opulus 83

Euonymus europaeus 82

European medlar Mespilus germanica 83

Black elder Sambucus nigra 83

Cormier Sorbus domestica 5

Weeping birch Betula pendula 7

White poplar Populus alba 5

Black poplar Populus nigra 5

Lutetia elm Ulmus resista ‘Lutetia’ 5

Small-leafed lime Tilia cordata 10

Hornbeam Carpinus betulus 5

Black walnut Morus nigra 10

Willow Salix caprea 10

Wild pear tree Pyrus pyraster 5

Domestic plum Prunus domestica 5

Montpellier maple Acer monspessulanum 5

Wild apple tree Malus sylvestris 5

Hazelnut Corylus avellana 8

European medlar Mespilus germanica 8

Black elder Sambucus nigra 8

Noble laurel Laurus nobilis 9

Blood dogwood Cornus sanguinea 8

 

 

Emmanuel:

Chestnut trees Castanea sativa 355

Hornbeam Carpinus betulus 25

Common pear Pyrus communis 10

Sessile oak Quercus petraea 8

Cherry Prunus avium 10

Warty birch Betula pendula 10

Common ash Fraxinus excelsior 5

Holm oak Quercus ilex 10

Blood dogwood Cornus sanguinea 20

Buckthorn Rhamnus cathartica 21

Blackthorn Prunus spinosa 20

Common Privet Ligustrum vulgare 20

Euonymus europaeus 20

Hazelnut Corylus avellana 25

 

Jean-François:

Chestnut Castanea sativa 60

Hornbeam Carpinus betulus 48

Wild pear tree Pyrus communis 30

Wild apple tree Malus sylvestris 35

Field maple Acer campestre 24

Domestic plum Prunus domestica 9

Quince Cydonia oblonga 8

Myrobolan plum Prunus cerasifera 15

Lutetia elm Ulmus lutetia 33

Small-leafed lime Tilia cordata 34

Montpellier maple Acer monspessulanum 9

Weeping birch Betula pendula 29

Cherry Prunus avium 4

March willow Salix caprea 13

Noble laurel Laurus nobilis 13

Blackthorn Prunus spinosa 39

Blood dogwood Cornus sanguinea 43

Serviceberry Amelanchier arborea 17

Hawthorn Crataegus monogyna 46

Rosehip Rosa canina 41

Blackthorn Mespilus germanica 23

Euonymus europaeus 25

Black Elder Sambucus nigra 26

Ivy Viburnum opulus 23

Hazelnut Corylus avellana 51

 

Quentin:

Walnut Juglans regia 150

 

Rodolphe:

Chestnut Castanea sativa 555

 

Thierry:

Chestnut Castanea sativa 30

Walnut Juglans regia 56

Hornbeam Carpinus betulus 5

Blackberry Sorbus torminalis 4

Wild pear Pyrus communis 7

Wild apple Malus sylvestris 4

Field maple Acer campestre 7

Domestic plum Prunus domestica 3

Plum myrobolan Prunus cerasifera 5

Plum myrobolan Prunus cerasifera 15

Lutetia elm Ulmus lutetia 12

Basswood platyphyllos Tilia platyphyllos 4

Small-leafed lime Tilia cordata 8

Montpellier maple Acer monspessulanum 4

Weeping birch Betula pendula 10

Cherry Prunus avium 9

Buckthorn Rhamnus alaternus 8

Buckthorn Thamnus cathartica 7

Blackthorn Prunus spinosa 22

Blood dogwood Cornus sanguinea 15

Dogwood, male Cornus mas 7

Serviceberry Amelanchier arborea 24

Hawthorn Crataegus monogyna 22

Rosehip Rosa canina 10

Broad-leaved thistle Phillyrea latifolia 8

Common juniper Juniperus communis 14

Medlar Mespilus germanica 17

Viburnum lantana 7

Black elder Sambucus nigra 15

Ivy Viburnum opulus 17

Hazelnut Corylus avellana 22

 

Vanessa:

Apple trees Malus sylvestris 50

Cherry Prunus mahaleb 20

Plum Prunus domestica 30

Walnut Juglans regia 9

Small-leaved lime Tilia cordata 9

Mulberry Morus alba 10

Apple trees Malus sylvestris 10

Serviceberry Amelanchier arborea 5

Blackcurrant Ribes nigrum 5

Viorne lantane Viburnums lantana 4

Hazelnut Corylus avellana 5

Installing trees on poultry plots © AFAF

Works timeline

  • October 2021: soil preparation, delivery of seedlings and staking
  • November 2021 – January 2022: planting trees on the plots and site launch
  • November 2022 – March 2024: replanting and first maintenance phase with training on tree pruning
  • 2023 – 2029: maintenance phases (training on 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 to be collected is €29, or 103 530€ per planted and l tree, broken down as follows

  • 95% of which is allocated to the planting project, broken down as follows:
    • Planting and replanting: €4.19
    • Mulching: €2.61
    • Protection and stakes: €6.97
    • Technical advice: €1.92
    • Monitoring over three years: €1.94
    • AFAF coordination, project management, and communication costs: €5.8
    • A Tree for You collection, follow-up, and communication costs (14.21%): €4.12
  • and 5% (€1.45) to cover A Tree for You overheads.

This total excludes * self-financing by the farmer for the plantating and soil preparation steps listed below:

Items Unit cost
Tasks €5,20 €
Soil preparation €1.44
Mulching, protection, staking, and planting €3.18
Tree maintenance and replanting €1.62

Funding by A Tree for You aims to cover 81.8% of the total project costs.

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