EU Measures

Agroforestry was a traditional land use system in Europe before modern times. The sixties land intensification and consolidation destroyed millions of trees all over Europe. In Western European countries, the reintroduction of trees has been promoted by agroforestry, afforestation and reforestation at the end of the last century. Afforestation of agricultural lands have been the most successful CAP measure (over 1 million hectares) while agroforestry measures were not extensively adopted. Agroforestry was poorly adopted in the CAP 2007–2013, having a better success in the CAP 2014–2020 due to the recognition of woody vegetation and the compensation of 5 years given for maintenance once agroforestry is established.

Agroforestry in Rural Development Programmes, 2007-2013 and beyond mentions a number of measures that were taken between 2007 and 2013, costing around 7 Billion €:

  • Modernisation of agricultural holdings (121) (SRC is included to this measure)
  • Improving the economic value of forests (122)
  • Adding value to primary agricultural and forestry production (123)
  • Cooperation for development of new products (124)
  • Improving and developing infrastructure related to the development and adaptation agriculture and forestry (125)
  • First afforestation of agricultural land (221)
  • First establishment of agro-forestry systems (222)
  • First afforestation of non-agricultural land (223)
  • Natura 2000 payments (224)
  • Forest-environment payments (225)
  • Restoring forestry potential and introducing prevention actions (226)
  • Support for non-productive investments (227)

Article 44 of Council Regulation No 1698/2005 First establishment of agroforestry systems on agricultural land reads that:

  1. Support shall be granted to farmers to create agroforestry systems combining extensive agriculture and forestry systems. Support shall cover the establishment costs.
  2. Agroforestry systems refer to land use systems in which trees are grown in combination with agriculture on the same land.
  3. Christmas trees and fast-growing species for short-term cultivation shall be excluded from support.

AGFORWARD (AGroFORestry that Will Advance Rural Development) was a four-year research project funded by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7). It started in January 2014 and ran until December 2017.

In December 2016, AGFORWARD released a 95 page report, which describes the extent and success of previous and current policy measures to promote agroforestry in Europe.

Forest Block

Measures 8a to 8e:

  • Afforestation and creation of woodland (Art 22)
  • Establishment of agroforestry systems (Art 23) - Measure 8b
  • Prevention and restoration of damage to forests from forest fires and natural disasters and catastrophic events (Art 24)
  • Investments improving the resilience and environmental value of forest ecosystems (Art 25)
  • Investments in forestry technologies and in processing and marketing of forest products (Art 26)

Other Measures

  • Knowledge transfer and information actions (Art 14)
  • Advisory services, farm management and farm relief services (Art 15)
  • Investments in physical assets (Art 17)
  • Farm and business development (Art 19) (includes non-agricultural activities and investments)
  • Setting up of producer groups (Art 27)
  • Natura 2000 and Water Framework Directive payments (Art 30)
  • Forest-environmental and climate services and forest conservation (Art 34)
  • Cooperation measure (Art 35) (for innovation and cooperation projects)

Establishment of agro-forestry systems

Rural Development 2014-2020 Article 23 (Measure 8b):


  • Support available for:
    • Costs of establishment
    • Annual premium per hectare to cover the costs of maintenance for a maximum period of 3 years
  • “Agro-forestry systems” shall mean land use systems in which trees are grown in combination with extensive agriculture on the same land
  • The maximum number of trees to be planted per hectare shall be determined by MS taking account of local pedo-climatic conditions, forestry species and the need to ensure agricultural use of the land.


  • Private land.
  • Owners and tenants, municipalities and their associations.
  • In order to ensure the effective use of EAFRD resources, support should be limited to active farmers within the meaning of Article 9 of Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013.

Aid rates

  • 80% of the amount of eligible investment for the establishment of agro-forestry systems.

To facilitate this, the European Commission has published a Measure fiche with guidelines for Member States. It is not a binding legal interpretation of Article 23, but it can be used to put pressure on national authorities, especially because the content has been jointly discussed and agreed by the European Commission and Member State.


Article 32: Support for LEADER local development from the EAFRD should also cover inter-territorial co-operation projects between groups within a Member State or transnational co-operation projects between groups in several Member States or co-operation projects between groups in Member States and in third countries.


  • Land classified as ‘forest’ will loose Basic Payments (after the ‘commitment period’ ends). LPIS rules consider that agroforestry is ‘agricultural’ IF evidence of farming is measurable AND tree canopy cover <50% (Annex 9) or density less than 100 trees/ha (Annex 10).