Launch of DigitAF project
October 2022 | Montpellier, France Consortium Develops New Digital Tools To Boost Agroforestry In Europe To Meet Climate, Biodiversity, And Farming Sustainability Goals A Horizon Europe Research and Innovation action project funded by the European Union. Horizon, Europe’s key funding programme for research and innovation, funds the development of digital tools for agroforestry (DigitAF). The project gathers top-notch European experts on agroforestry who will strive to set up the right conditions for the implementation of highly performant and resilient agroforestry systems. The tools developed within DigitAF will ensure the right trees are planted at the right place and managed in the right way to foster climate change mitigation and adaptation. This will also…
October 2022 | Montpellier, France
Consortium Develops New Digital Tools To Boost Agroforestry In Europe To Meet Climate, Biodiversity, And Farming Sustainability Goals
A Horizon Europe Research and Innovation action project funded by the European Union.
Horizon, Europe’s key funding programme for research and innovation, funds the development of digital tools for agroforestry (DigitAF). The project gathers top-notch European experts on agroforestry who will strive to set up the right conditions for the implementation of highly performant and resilient agroforestry systems. The tools developed within DigitAF will ensure the right trees are planted at the right place and managed in the right way to foster climate change mitigation and adaptation. This will also help to enhance biodiversity whilst enabling profitable and sustainable food production and efficient use of resources.
Building A Climate Resilient Landscape
Today’s farmers focus on one crop. They grow corn, produce palm oil, or have cattle. This approach is easy but also a massive gamble. Yields can fail, prices can go down, and crops go to waste, leaving families in despair. Agroforestry – a land use management system integrating trees or shrubs with crops or pastures – allows farmers to grow multiple crops on the same piece of land. This makes them less dependent on yields or changing prices.
Agroforestry has already proven its potential for agricultural sustainability, climate change mitigation and adaptation, biodiversity preservation, and soil conservation. However, agroforestry performances are context-dependent. Currently, many barriers hinder its adoption, including a lack of tools for decision-making, assessing economic, environmental, and social benefits, and monitoring policies and impact. DigitAF will boost agroforestry implementation in the EU and beyond thanks to the co-development of digital tools tailored to the needs and concerns of target groups.
Inspiring All Stakeholders To Ensure Implementation
The consortium will implement a tailored multi-actor approach, directly engaging with and providing digital tools to the various stakeholders: policymakers at regional, national, and European levels; practitioners such as farmers, landowners, and foresters; and beneficiaries of agroforestry products and services.
To engage and adequately support actors whose decisions influence agroforestry implementation, DigitAF will:
- assist policy-actors at various scales in designing more efficient policies for agroforestry adoption and carbon farming;
- provide tools to help practitioners deal with the complexity of agroforestry systems, enabling them to optimise the design and management thereof at field and farm scales;
- enhance capacities of actors to assess, quantify and market the economic, environmental and social performance and benefits of agroforestry; and
- give agroforestry a prominent place in the minds of decision-makers among the possible solutions to improve agricultural sustainability and resilience to climate change.
Sharing Data Through Open Source
DigitAF wants to create a legacy for future scientists, stakeholders, practitioners, students, and communities. DigitAF aims to develop an ecosystem of opensource, user-centered digital tools to facilitate change and adapt the practices of key actors toward adopting agroforestry. In doing so, the consortium partners will ensure that DigitAF tools will be used and evolve after the project ends: open source and fully reusable code and data will be the standard. This will strengthen partnerships in future projects, the engagement of early-career scientists and students, the collaboration between agroforesters and the high-tech community, and our contribution to the semantic web. All collected and generated datasets will be available in an Agroforestry Open Source Data Platform.
Linking Field & Cloud Through Living Labs
DigitAF will particularly contribute to overcoming socio-technical challenges preventing the widespread implementation of agroforestry through the set-up and operation of six Living Labs– local networks of selected actors across six countries within the EU. The Living Labs will gather representatives of the different target groups and identify their respective and mutual needs, knowledge gaps, and lack of existing tools. Knowledge generated during the project will fill these gaps and be formalized into models that form the basis for improving existing hands-on tools or developing new ones directly usable for actors. Because the adoption status of agroforestry varies significantly between European countries, the Living Labs have been categorized into two types according to the level of maturity of the network on which they rely:
- Advanced Living Labs in Italy, Germany, and the Netherlands will use existing networks that already gather representatives of DigitAF’s target groups; and
- Seed Living Labs in the UK, Finland, and the Czech Republic will start with existing networks or initiatives that gather a group of stakeholders and build upon them.
Through DigitAF’s open-source ecosystem and user-centered digital tools, the Living Labs will help to ensure that end-user needs and feedback are proactively considered throughout the project development, thereby serving as a bridge between the developers of the tools and the end-users.
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ID no: 101059794
Budget: EUR 3.7 million
Start date: 1 July 2022
Duration: 48 months
Number of partners: 26 (+5 affiliated entities)
Number of countries: 19 (including 4 associated countries)
Please find here the complete list of partners.
Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are, however, those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or European Research Executive Agency. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.