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A Case Study of Agricultural and Forestry Practice in Pajottenland, Belgium 比利时帕约特兰地区的一个农林实践案例

[Territorial Solution Collection: Sustainable Agro-Forestry Development Practices, Climate Actions and Carbon Neutral Issues]

The transformation of farming to adapt to local climate (incl. change) and local features may be a necessary foundation of climate action and green circular economy.

With natural-social-economic environment of cities and rural areas, the spatial-functional relation between land and water are becoming more complex and diversified., the Agro-Forestry Transformation discussed here is broader than traditional agroforestry. It includes agriculture, forestry and protected areas on land and water.

Below is the story of a family farmer and agroforestry expert in the small town of Galmaarden, Belgium, who planted trees in the farmland and promoted it to an agroforestry system.



Louis-Marie Tenstedt, Wouter De Stecker, farmer and agroforestry expert in Galmaarden, Province of Flemish Brabant

Bert Reubens, director of sustainable development program at ilvo, Belgium


The Province of Flemish Brabant locates in the centre of Belgium surrounding the Brussels Capital Region, with a temperate coastal climate. Pajottenland is a green plain area with small villages, some of which are depicted by artists such as Pieter Bruegel.

Louis-Marie Tenstedt is not a "traditional" farmer. He is a trade engineer and has been CFO for years of a company operating cattle and other business in Congo, Africa.

After retiring, Tenstedt lives on a 400-year old farm in Galmaarden in the Pajottenland region, operating a family farm grown to 45 hectares. He combined agriculture with local tree species and became the pioneer of local agroforestry practice in Flemish Brabant.

Louis Marie tenstedt, left, and wood de stek: "my first tree planting project consisted of two rows of poplars."

 (Original in Dutch: Louis-Marie Tennstedt (l., met Wouter De Stecker):“Mijn eerste aanplanting bestond uit een dubbele rij populieren.”) 


Agroforestry Cultivation

Twenty years ago, Tenstedt decided to diversify the farm management. Two things made him think: He saw more and more fertile soil being washed away, and there were fewer and fewer small wild animals. "I've always been a hunter." He said. So he decided to plant trees around his grassland and farmland. "I firstly planted a double row poplar. In fact, planting double-row poplars around the site returns to the ancient tradition of Pajottenland. Therefore I got permission from the government smoothly. "

Later, Tenstedt planted nuts and a special tree species, Bijoux, which produces very big nuts. Then he planted tree rows and hedges to divide the field and grassland.

"These trees lead to more carbon storage in the soil and increase biodiversity," said Bert Rubens, head of sustainable development at Belgian Institute of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. The farmer has spread his risk, which is good for the enterprise and society. "

Actually, there is little difference between the farming method of Destek and traditional farms. The challenge is weeds, because they acidify the soil. They are looking for other sustainable ways to prune trees and shrubs, which takes time and effort. "The result of planting trees is that we gave up about 5% of the land that could harvest barley, corn or wheat. The trees absorb water, take away some sunlight, and lose an average of 10% of their income in the short run. " Said his son-in-law, Wouter De Stecker. "We still use herbicides and fertilizers, but much less."

Fields and grasslands are divided into smaller fields by planting rows of trees.

 (Original in Dutch: Akkers en weilanden zijn in kleinere percelen opgedeeld door er rijen bomen in te planten.)


Wood Harvesting

They plan to cut down trees one day to make wood a source of income. "We see pigeons, crows and birds building their nests on the top of the tree, crushing the crown. Unfortunately, if you want to sell wood, you have to get beautiful trunks. So we have to prop up the canopy, or use a small windmill to scare the birds away. "

Another question is, will they be allowed to cut down those trees? "The municipal authorities believe that these trees make the landscape more precious and beautiful," De Stecker said. To this end, we wrote a letter to the effect that we intend to harvest in ten or twenty years. Fortunately, there has been a lot of progress in the legislation of Flemish Brabant. Forestry is increasingly regarded as a mature and sustainable planting system (which can be harvested in a proper way).”

Bert Reubens said: "The purpose is to allow farmers to use their fields for dual purposes. They continue to grow or raise traditional crops or animals, but combine them with forestry on the same piece of land. This is a form of diversification, which can benefit the company and society. Farmers spread the risk of farming and trees resist soil erosion, resulting in a significant increase in soil organic carbon content and increased biodiversity. "


Multiple benefits and carbon sink of agroforestry

"All the farmers here say we're idiots," he said of economic efficiency. They don't understand that we voluntarily reduce our income in the short term, especially in an already difficult field. As a retiree, I have enough space to experiment, because I don't have to make a living through this farm. However we are very lucky, nuts are very fashionable now, about 5 Euro per kilogram. The annual yield of an adult tree is nearly 100 kg, so with 100 trees, you have a good income. "

Rubens also admitted that, a "forest man" cannot make a lot of money. "Of course, the demand for profitability is reasonable and can affect many farmers. Now, more people choose to change the way of farming. In fact, crop combination performs better economically and ecologically than monoculture. However, there is still not enough knowledge and experience on the specific solutions to mix economic trees with annual crops and vegetables. it is a pity if agroforestry would not be popular enough. "

The number of farmers who choose agroforestry continues to rise. "Last year we even had a peak when 26 applicants applied for more than 70 hectares of land. That is still not enough, and the obstacles remain. Landowners sometimes do not give permission because they are not familiar with the system. This is still a pity, because the benefits of agroforestry to climate change are enormous.* It will also help if companies that have to compensate for their carbon emissions look to these farmers. Agroforestry must make agriculture as effective as other sustainable management options. **”


Editor's note:

*According to the National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) 2020-2030 of Belgium, the total Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emission target from the agricultural sector totals 5.5 Mt CO2eq in 2030, i.e. a 25% reduction from 2005, and a further reduction of 0.14 Mt CO2eq by 2030 for the entire agricultural sector between 2020 and 2030. In addition, agricultural carbon emissions account for 17% of the country's Non-ETS (Emission Trading System) [mainly transportation, construction, industry (non heavy polluting enterprises) and waste treatment]

**In the European Union, the carbon sequestration of soil and regenerative agriculture has been widely recognized and studied, also known as "carbon farming". However, this has not been included in the Emission Trading System. Another carbon trading system with the theme of carbon sequestration is being studied in Europe to help farmers get supportive funds and better coordinate the protection progress of biodiversity and agroecology.


Adapted from the report of Belgian Newspaper, De standaard, at 3:25 on Thursday, February 18, 2021

Original name: Als de boer aan bosbouw doet (When the farmer is engaged in forestry), author Dominique Minten.

Link to original (Dutch / Flemish)

Further reference:

Baidu Encyclopedia (Chinese) -- Province of Flemish Brabant

Wiki travel (English) -- Pajottenland

Edited and Translated for global readers by: NATUREHERIT






弗拉芒布拉邦省(Province of Flemish Brabant)哈尔马尔登镇(Galmaarden)农民和农林专家路易-玛丽·坦斯特德(Louis-Marie Tenstedt),伍特·德·斯特克(Wouter De Stecker)

比利时农业、渔业和食品研究所(Ilvo)可持续发展项目负责人伯特·鲁本斯(Bert Reubens


弗拉芒布拉邦省位于比利时中部,环绕布鲁塞尔首都大区,属温带海洋性气候。帕约特兰(Pajottenland)位于布鲁塞尔外围的丹德河和泽恩河之间,是一片绿色平原和小村庄,其中一些由皮耶特·布鲁格尔(Pieter Bruegel)等艺术家进行了描绘。




图片说明:路易-玛丽·坦斯特德(Louis-Marie Tenstedt,左,与伍特·德·斯特克):“我的第一个种树计划由两排杨树组成。”





比利时农业、渔业和食品研究所(Ilvo)可持续发展项目负责人伯特·鲁本斯(Bert Reubens)先生说:“这些树导致土壤中更多的碳储存,增加了生物多样性。农民分散了他的风险,这对企业和社会都有好处。”












鲁本斯也承认,作为一个“森林人”挣不了大钱。 “当然,盈利能力的需求是合理的,可以影响许多农民。现在有更多人选择改变耕种模式。原则上,作物组合在经济和生态上都比单作表现更好。然而,在经济树木与一年生作物和蔬菜混合的具体解决方案上,仍然没有足够的知识和经验。如果农林复合经营不够普及,将是一个遗憾。”




* 根据比利时2020-2030能源气候行动计划文件, 2030年农业部门的温室气体排放目标总量为550万吨二氧化碳当量,比2005年减少25%。另外,农业碳排放占该国非碳交易行业的17%【主要还有交通、建筑、工业(非重污染企业)和垃圾】

** 在欧盟,土壤和再生性农业的固碳作用已被广泛认识和进行研究,亦称为“碳农业”,但还没有纳入碳交易体系。一个以固碳为主题的碳交易系统正在研究中,以帮助农民得到扶持的资金,协调生物多样性和农业生态化的保护进展。


本文根据比利时日报De Standaard 2021年2月18日星期四3时25分报道,由自然颖源为国际读者翻译和改编,

原名“当农民从事林业时”,作者:Dominique Minten,原文荷兰语链接:




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