Agroforestry Systems: The Opportunity for European Landscape and Agriculture is a new project that began in November 2018. 




The aim of the AGFOSY project is to create a complex yet flexible training system relating to agroforestry. It is based on case studies and best practices that will provide farmers and landowners with the skills, knowledge and competencies to implement agroforestry systems on their own farms. Agroforestry (AF) measures are able to bring a wide range of positive benefits to land management, as well as helping landowners to achieve the goals of the CAP. It can provide solutions to different issues from unemployment to income diversification as ecological services.

The AGFOSY project partners met in Toulouse, France on May 23-24th. During the day, discussions included summary reports, case studies, project dissemination and workshops. Partners from France, Spain, Belgium, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic all shared their unique viewpoints and research so far. Depending on the country, support and development of AF measures vary.

The most recent meeting was held on November 7th and 8th in Zvolen, Slovakia. Each project partner presented Case Studies from their respective areas, with ELO having multiple case studies from both Flemish and Walloon regions. These case studies will help provide a history of agroforestry in their respective countries; how it has been developed; and where it’s future lies. This will then help to form training modules and videos which will be accessible to farmers and landowners across Europe who wish to develop agroforestry practices on their land, which ELO has already made great progress on. The meeting also included visits to multiple farms that participate in agroforestry.


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Project No: 2018-1CZ-KA202-048153


7. Agridemo F2F logo

AgriDemo-F2F (Building an Interactive AgriDemo Hub community: enhancing farmer to farmer learning) was launched in January 2017, funded by the European Union Horizon 2020 Research and innovation programme and the goal of the project is to enhance peer to peer learning within the commercial farming community.


In order to enhance peer to peer learning among the farming community, the consortium created a free online geo-referenced inventory of open commercial farms that engage in demonstration activities in Europe, detailing the sectors, themes and topics on which they provide expertise and the mediation techniques they apply. The experience of different actors and involved practitioner partners throughout the project deepened the understanding of effective on-farm demonstration activities. Several case studies were described, analysed and compared on their network structure (actors, roles and governance characteristics), and mechanisms and tools used for recruitment, interaction and learning.

The final meeting of the project coincided with the FarmDemo Conference in Brussels, Belgium on 21-22 May 2019, where the results of the project were shared with farmers, advisors, researchers, and policymakers. Participants heard from commercial farmers and innovation actors involved in on-farm demonstration, were able to learn how demonstrations can be organised successfully to optimise impact, actively test and try different tools for effective demonstrations and participate in a round table discussion with an expert panel to discuss the future of farm demonstrations in the EU. This discussion facilitated the finalised version of the best practical approaches for both the on-farm demonstration of research results and the dissemination of best farming practices among practitioners and recommendations for AKIS governance and policies on how to support effective on-farm demonstration activities.

If you are interested in accessing an EU-wide inventory of demonstration farms where farmers can showcase or find relevant farm demonstration activities, join FarmDemo hub online for free.

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Grant agreement number: 728061

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme under grant agreement No 728061.




22/06/2022: Time-bound targets and restoration actions outside Natura2000
The EU Nature Restoration Law presented by the commission builds on the birds and habitats directives by adding time-bound targets and requiring restoration actions across the territory of the Member States, including outside Natura 2000. Ecosystems are the “lungs” and backbone of our rural territories and the landowners are custodians of this rich environment. This responsibility requires us to plead for a robust EU policy and support system. However, we deplore the lack of an effective inclusive action plan and an unfortunate continuity in a top-down approach that proved in the past to be counterproductive. Read more here.

May 2020: ELO's first considerations on the new EU Biodiversity strategy
ELO welcomes with great interest the new strategy of the European Commission. We recognise the intention of inclusiveness with all stakeholders and, when working alongside the institutions to halt the loss of biodiversity, we believe that no sustainable solution leading to reintroducing biodiversity could be achieved without landowners and efficient land management. Please read the full statement here.

More about Biodiversity:
Following the adoption of the EU Green Deal, 2020 marked the publication of many related strategies such as the 2030 Biodiversity Strategy. It is the responsibility of ELO to be at the forefront of the discussions related to its implementation.

 Please read the full statement here: ELO position paper- EU 2030 Biodiversity strategy, May 2020


 Time bound targets and restoration actions outside Natura2000


Following the adoption of the EU Green Deal, 2020 marked the publication of many related strategies such as the 2030 Biodiversity Strategy. It is the responsibility of ELO to be at the forefront of the discussions related to its implementation.


Right after Its publication in May 2020, ELO produced its official position paper which was reviewed by the ELO Policy Group and then sent to relevant decision-makers (MEPs, EC officials, Members States representatives etc…) We recognized that the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030 is the right path to move ahead. However, ELO felt it important to note that the EU nature conservation measures, and especially the EU Birds and Habitats Directives’ obligations, still pose a challenge in implementation for many private land managers. The three pillars of sustainability: economic viability, environmental protection, and social equity, remain essential elements for a successful implementation of EU nature legislation. Considering that almost 95% of Europe’s land is in private hands, landowners should be considered prime partners in ensuring the success of any biodiversity targets. Based on a voluntary commitment, The Wildlife Estates Label shows the importance of private land managers actions towards biodiversity preservation (see the article on Wildlife Estates Label) The strict 10% protection target is one of the first bottlenecks of the strategy. ELO is worried that this strict protection will prevent the adoption of any genuine protection measure and therefore would mean the cessation of all human activities. In fact, for numerous sites, the species and habitats and their ecosystems may be entirely dependent on the continuation of such activities for their longterm survival. Furthermore, without sustainable management, forests and ecosystems are more likely to be at risk with regards to climate change effects. It is our view that a blank restriction of uses in the designated areas will be counterproductive and reinforce the lack of understanding between decision-makers and land users. The examination of the new binding target for restoration has also started with the European Commission. ELO is in favour of a robust and efficient action plan instead of a binding target. We consider that by developing payments for ecosystem services in line with market practice; nature conservation could become a thriving part of our economy. ELO, therefore, strongly welcomes that this new binding target will be evaluated against an impact assessment. It will require the full involvement of land managers with a clear signal to put in place the necessary financial mechanisms to support their actions. The ELO proposes to focus on improving the use of existing funds but also making sure they are made available by public authorities in due time and without complex binding rules. The potential of market-based solutions such as tax credits and incentives must be part of the solution.

ELO, with the support of the Life programme under the project “Land Is For Ever”, reviewed existing and innovative mechanisms, to present to the European Commission a list of tools that can be supported from the individual landowners’ perspective.

Forest issues through the protection of old-growth forests are also at the core of the strategy. The EC proposes to define, map, monitor and strictly protect all of the EU’s remaining primary and oldgrowth forests. European Commission will also develop guidelines on closer-to-nature-forestry practices and biodiversity-friendly afforestation and reforestation. The Commission has set a goal to plant at least 3 billion additional trees in the EU by 2030. This will be carried out in parallel with the new EU Forest Strategy. ELO has recently published a joint paper on that issue with WWF. See article page on forestry.



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The The BIOPLAT-EU (Promoting Sustainable Use of Underutilized Lands for Bioenergy Production Through a Web-Based Platform for Europe) project was launched in November 2018 and will run for three years.  BIOPLAT-EU addresses the Horizon 2020 call for Global leadership in renewables, and more specifically the topic of Market Uptake Support.

The overall objective of the project is to promote the market uptake of sustainable bioenergy in Europe using marginal, underutilized, and contaminated lands for non-food biomass production through the provision of a web-based platform that serves as decision support tool. To achieve this, BIOPLAT-EU is creating a database of maps of Marginal, Underutilized and Contaminated (MUC) lands in Europe and a public user-friendly tool (STEN: Sustainability Tool for Europe and Neighbouring countries) that gives the user specifications about these lands.

Many of the project partners have carried over their work from the previous Horizon 2020 project, FORBIO (fostering sustainable feedstock production for advanced biofuels on underutilized land in Europe). The STEN tool will be based on existing recognised and test methodologies for the assessment of 9 environmental indicators (GHG emissions, Air Pollutants Emissions, Soil Quality, Water Quality, Water Use and Efficiency, Biodiversity, and LUC). These will be shared on the web-based platform as a core source of information and utility related to this topic for stakeholders.

On 26 September 2019, Scientific Engineering Centre “Biomass” (SECB) hosted the BIOPLAT-EU project consortium in Kiev, Ukraine, where ELO joined for the second progress meeting of the project. The next consortium meeting will be held in Bucharest, Romania in April 2020, hosted by project partner, ENERO. ELO will continue to collect existing MUC land data from each Member State until the database is complete. Interested persons with relevant information are encouraged to contact the ELO Projects Team at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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This project is Co-funded by the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme of the European Union (Contract No. 818083).

Horizon 2020


BioWILL logo 

BioWILL: Integrated "Zero Waste" Biorefinery utilising all fractions of Willow feedstock for the production of high to medium based Bio-Chemicals/Materials, Renewable Energy in the form of Bio Methane production and Natural Fertilisers

The recovery of relatively small quantities of high value extractives from biomass has the potential to transform the economic viability of biorefineries promoting transition to a zero-waste circular bioeconomy. Through transnational collaboration, BioWILL addresses the problem of poor vertical integration of value for biomass by developing a zero-waste willow biorefinery utilising all fractions of the feedstock to produce biopharmaceutical chemicals, energy and materials ensuring sustainable economic development. This project will demonstrate the commerciality of scalable rural biorefineries for Northwest Europe (NWE) providing alternative income for farmers and employment across a wide skill base. The project will deliver a biorefinery model for NWE using willow, by producing high value salicylates from willow bark for medical applications.

BioWILL is a 36-month project which just started and brings together 10 partner organisations from Belgium, France, Ireland and the United Kingdom. The regions selected have small amounts of willow which are currently providing low income to growers. The UK has a developed cottage craft industry for willow, and bio-fibre food packing manufacturing. All regions have national or regional bioeconomy policies, but none has an extractive based cascading biorefinery. The partnership provides an integrated research and commercial exploitation platform.

ELO’s role will be to promote the potential of sustainable willow growing in the NWE and the commercialisation of commodities produced from the willow extract. The overall message will promote the benefits of zero waste biorefineries and the long-term sustainability through policy support, publications and information sharing.

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Project No. NWE 964

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