Published June 23, 2023 | Version 3
Working paper Open

Agroforestry & the 2040 AFOLU net-zero target

  • 1. EURAF
  • 3. EFI
  • 4. Cranfield University


This Briefing is a contribution to the DG CLIMA consultation on 2040 climate targets. It suggests that, if the EU's target of 3 billion additional trees  by 2030 were planted in agroforestry systems at the density of 150 (50-400) trees/ha, with 1 million ha planted each year to 2050, that a long-term average of 192 Mt CO2 yr-1 could be sequestered during the lifetime of the plantations. This is close to the current levels of LULUCF sequestration across the EU (212 Mt CO2e in 2021). However, trees grow slowly when they are first planted and the potential contribution of these agroforestry systems would take time to develop. Taking, for example, a generic agroforestry plantation at 150 trees/ha, a rotation length of 30 years, and 1 million hectares planted per annum across Europe from 2025 to 2050: it is estimated that sequestration would be only 2 Mt CO2 in 2030, but that this would rise to 81 Mt in 2030 and 188 Mt CO2 in 2050.  Agroforestry can be carried out by planting trees in lines within parcels, or in hedges, windbreaks [1] and copses at parcel boundaries.  It is thought that this scale of planting is economically feasible on most of the 169 Million ha of agricultural land which exists in the Europe (EEA-39) with zero tree cover, and that any reductions in agricultural yield would be moderate, and compensated by carbon sequestration and other environmental or animal-welfare benefits.  This Briefing is being sent to the Agricultural Departments of all Member States: it is hoped they take advantage of the EU’s request that CAP Strategic Plans be revised to deliver on the new LULUCF targets.  Agroforestry programmes are possibly the best option to achieve this.


EURAF Policy Briefing #26


26. Agroforestry & the 2040 AFOLU net-zero target (compressed).pdf

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DIGITAF – DIGItal Tools to help AgroForestry meet climate, biodiversity and farming sustainability goals: linking field and cloud 101059794
European Commission