In the Rhône-Alpes, hedges and trees have gradually disappeared. The regrouping of agricultural plots and the mechanisation of agriculture in the 1960s to the 90s completely re-drew the agricultural landscape. While this allowed better operating conditions it also eliminated traditional landscapes, such as hedges, low walls and embankments.
These natural elements are essential to ecological balance. Farmers aware of this are anxious to develop sustainable agricultural practices by reintroducing trees in their fields and meadows.
Driven by the association Union of Forests and Hedges Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, the project aims to reintroduce trees on several farms (Cantal, Drôme, Ardèche, Isère) and initiate a change of practices by reconciling production with the environment, and promoting sustainability in farms.
When planted in parallel lines in the middle of crops or at the edge of plots, trees contribute to agricultural production, crop and herd protection, water quality, soil fertility and the biodiversity.
- Reduction of wind and water erosion and therefore greater soil protection, while simultaneously providing organic matter to improve the structure and diversity of soil microorganisms.
- Protection of water sources against diffuse pollution, particularly nitrates.
- Restoration of local biodiversity by creating wildlife corridors.
- Improved agricultural performance, and improved resilience of the agricultural system to climate change.
The Union of Forests and Hedges Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes brings together the professional organisations of the private forest and their partners. It has, for 22 years, been dedicated to hedgerow and agroforestry via the project “Mission Hurdles”. The objective is to preserve and develop linear hedgerows.
At the same time, the project is also developing actions to preserve existing hedges and raise awareness of the sustainable management of the hedgerow, in order to give farmers the desire to better manage and maintain their farmland, providing both a dual economic and environmental objective.