Second Lebanese B2B Event on Innovations for Grazed Woodlands
27 September 2022
LIVINGAGRO's second brokerage event in Lebanon to be held next 5th of October
On the 5th of October 2022, the grazed woodlands sectors in Lebanon will benefit from the first B2B event organized by The Lebanese Agricultural Research Institute (LARI), in collaboration with the Forest Agency for Land and Environment of Sardinia (FoReSTAS), within the Cross Border Living Laboratories for Agroforestry (LIVINGAGRO) project funded by the European Union through the ENI CBC Med Programme and implemented in Italy, Lebanon, Greece and Jordan. Titled “B2B Event – Innovations for Grazed Woodlands”, this symposium aims to support education, research and development, innovation, technology transfer, and publishing and marketing research results.
Farmers, entrepreneurs, local administrators, researchers, private companies, policy makers and multiple stakeholders interested in agroforestry issues, especially in the field of grazed woodlands, will have the opportunity to participate, whether onsite or online, in a series of discussions, roundtables and one-on-one meetings highlighting the latest scientific research and implementing state-of-the-art innovations related to grazed woodlands that contributes to the development of the sector. A professional panel of acclaimed guest speakers, including representatives from LARI, LIVINGAGRO consortium and other research institutions, will be sharing insights on different topics and innovations related to agroforestry in order to help stakeholders to increase profitability, sustainability, and biodiversity in the face of limited resources and environmental constraints. These discussion sessions will tackle issues regarding adaptive grazing management, reconciling grazing with trees, mixtures for quality pasture, shade tolerant species, remote sensing techniques to monitor oak forests, thinning and pruning trees in silvopastoral systems, land imprinter for rangelands rehabilitation coupled with rangeland species seeder and, hydroponic fodder system.
Grazed woodlands are land use systems that integrate woody vegetation with livestock, playing an important socio-economic role, and providing rural employment and a range of ecosystem services. With its open innovation approach, LIVINGAGRO project will help different stakeholders during this one-day B2B event in identifying the types of problems facing this sector, as well as underlining and co-designing the most workable technological solutions that maximize the ecosystem functionality of the grazed forest and enhance the many aspects and resources that agroforestry in grazed woodland can provide.
The LIVINGAGRO project will also help to encourage stakeholders to collaborate with each other, which will lead to different innovations with high business potentials among research centers, agricultural policy makers and other interested stakeholders in grazed woodlands.
Know more about the brokerage event here
Special Issue on “Agronomical, Phenotypical and Biochemical Evaluation of Olive”
The cultivated olive (Olea europaea L.) is one of the most representative and economically important crops in the Mediterranean region. The olive sector is currently experiencing a profound crisis due to the ever-changing environmental and climatic conditions and new phytosanitary emergencies. From this perspective derives the urgency to have alternative olive varieties that are resilient, adapted and plastic, and able to guarantee early fruiting and entry into production, as well as plant architecture suitable for fully mechanizing olive harvesting and pruning, low susceptibility to parasites and harmful pathogens, high productivity and oil yield, high content of secondary bioactive compounds, and high nutritional and sensory quality of olive oil.
Due to the prevalent out-crossing nature of the species, the olive still
has a certain genetic variability to exploit in breeding programs. Accurate prospecting of olive-growing areas could highlight the presence of ancient, or wild olive trees, not traced back to previously cataloged varieties. In addition, it is possible to develop new varieties of olive trees starting from the crossing between known and genetically compatible genotypes to introduce improving characteristics.
This Special Issue, lead by Dr. Valentina Passeri from the Italian National Research Council (CNR) and member of the LIVINGAGRO consortium, welcomes scientific articles concerning the evaluation and selection of olive tree genotypes through agronomic, physiological, biochemical, and technological approaches in order to build a multidisciplinary network for a modern, more biodiverse, and competitive olive growing, with an increase in environmental sustainability and the safeguarding of product quality.
Submissions are open until the 31st of July 2023.
More information on the Special Issue here
Last days to register for the second B2B event on Multifunctional Olive Systems in Lebanon
Register now to join the many farmers, decision makers, researchers and private sector representatives who will participate in the event on November 15 at Gefinor Rotana Hotel in Beirut, from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM local time.
Innovators from Italy, Greece and Lebanon will present their research on innovations to support olive growing and olive oil production in Lebanon and throughout the Mediterranean region. This event continues the knowledge sharing that began at the first B2B event in July. As in July, a catalogue of innovations will be distributed to all attendees; it will be available online on the ICT platform of the LIVINGAGRO Project (https://livingagrolab.eu/).
During the November event, attendees from various backgrounds will have a chance to participate in two roundtables and discuss with innovators possible collaborations and possibilities for applying new ideas to their business. LIVINGAGRO brokerage events aim to promote collaborations, market opportunities, and agreements between researchers and businesspeople.
This event will be broadcast live in Arabic and English in order to allow stakeholders who are unable to participate in person to take part virtually. Those who wish to follow it online should also register for the free event.
This B2B event is part of the “Cross Border Living Laboratories for Agroforestry – LIVINGAGRO” project funded by the European Union through the ENI CBC Med Programme and organized by the Lebanese Agricultural Research Institute (LARI) and the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Chania (MAICH) – Greece.
For information and registration:
Innovations for grazed woodlands
With the aim of supporting farmers, entrepreneurs, local administrators, researchers, private companies, policy makers and stakeholders in Lebanon interested in agroforestry issues, especially in the field of grazed woodlands, the Lebanese Agricultural Research Institute (LARI) held the B2B event “Innovations for grazed woodlands”, at the Hotel Le Royal Dbayeh in Beirut, Lebanon. This event was organized in collaboration with the Forest Agency for Land and Environment of Sardinia (FoReSTAS) and planned in the framework of the project “Cross Border Living Laboratories for Agroforestry – LIVINGAGRO”, co-funded by the European Union through the ENI CBC Med Programme.
This one-day business-to-business event aimed at supporting education, research and development, innovation, technology transfer as well as publishing and marketing of research results, offering a major opportunity for farmers, entrepreneurs, local administrators, researchers, private companies and policy makers interested in agroforestry issues, especially in the field of grazed woodlands in Lebanon, to set the framework for a long-term constructive cooperation among stakeholders.
In a meeting on the sidelines of the workshop, the manager of the LIVINGAGRO project on behalf of LARI, agricultural engineer Dr. Peter Moubarak, stated that work on this project has been underway for three years, with one more year left to complete the phase related to the Middle East region and Southern Europe. Dr. Moubarak pointed out to the existing cooperation between stakeholders aiming to design and implement state-of-the-art innovations as well as technology transfer, and publishing and marketing of research results, which includes agroforestry issues especially in the field of grazed woodlands alongside matters related to the olive cultivation as an essential part of the project.
Regarding cooperation prospects with interested stakeholders, Dr. Moubarak confirmed the collaboration with related ministries and research centers, highlighting several agreements signed with private universities, including the Saint Joseph University, LIU University and the Lebanese University as part of the project, in addition to cooperation with the municipalities. Dr. Moubarak concluded by stressing on the fact that the main goal of the project is to create a network of stakeholders interested in agroforestry sector which would strengthen cooperation frameworks with foreign parties as well as improve production, inviting farmers and stakeholders to visit the site of the project, where they can benefit from shared insights and experiences on different topics and innovations related to agroforestry that contribute to the development of the sector. Dr. Moubarak confirmed that preparations are in progress for a third workshop that will be organized soon.
Agricultural engineer Georges Hassoun, a specialist in food processing, also praised the importance of this project especially in terms of classification and production quality, hoping to achieve positive outcomes.
Agricultural engineer Imad Hamza, a former professor at the American University, emphasized the importance of the workshop in tackling the topic of grazed woodlands and agroforestry, which is rarely raised despite its great significance, and aspired for the implementation of practical research.
Mr. Rony Francis, President of the Bchaaleh Agricultural Cooperative, expressed his appreciation of the workshop’s organization in general, underscoring the importance of the topics raised, especially regarding the ways Lebanese farmers can benefit from the expertise of their European counterparts. Mr. Francis also stated that the anticipated results depend on the personal diligence of each farmer.
Stressing on the importance of collective work to develop agriculture and protect forests and grazed woodlands in Lebanon, agricultural engineer Sophie Mansour, a specialist in agroforestry, regarded the exchange of knowledge and research between the participating countries as an advantage for their mutual sustainable development.
Also commenting on the conference, Italian agricultural engineer Dr. Antonello Franca highlighted the importance of exchanging experiences and sharing insights among the participants to benefit from their mutual experiences in order to develop their agricultural work, especially since they come from different countries and environments. “It’s an opportunity for us to study how climate change is affecting grazed woodlands, and we also need to further develop our work to face the decrease of the agroforestry fields”, he added. Dr. Franca emphasized that the advantage of the conference is to organize and benefit from mutual experiences, in addition to identify new innovations that can be implemented to improve agriculture in grazed woodlands. Dr. Franca is a researcher at the National Research Council in Italy and a member at the Institute for Institute for Animal Production System in Mediterranean Environment ISPAAM in Sardinia, he works as well for the LIVINGAGRO project studying the impact of grazing on the grazed woodlands in the Mediterranean region.
Innovations for Mediterranean agroforestry systems in Lebanon
Stakeholders in the Lebanese olive and livestock sectors who are facing challenges are invited to a free B2B event where they can connect with innovators who offer solutions to common problems. Hybrid online and face-to-face presentations and one-on-one meetings will take place in Beirut on July 21st 2022 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. as part of the LIVINGAGRO project funded under the ENI CBC Med Programme 2014-2020.
This hybrid conference will take place at the Smallville Hotel Badaro in Beirut, Lebanon. There, eight 15-minute presentations will introduce innovations in the olive, olive oil, and livestock sectors to producers, cooperatives, agricultural enterprises, company representatives, millers, and other interested stakeholders.
Innovators, researchers, and representatives of organizations will give presentations on a wide range of innovations related to the following topics:
• Chickpea intercropping in olive groves
• Effect of soil management and different cover crops on soil characteristics, olive production and olive oil quality
• DNA-based diagnostic test to authenticate the varietal origin of olive oil
• OliveID, an image-based tool to identify olive cultivars based on a numeric analysis of size, shape, and structure
• FT-NIR Analyzer, using Fourier transform (FT) near infrared spectroscopy (NIR) to determine olive oil quality
• Zen Irriware precision irrigation system
• Clearing shrubs and sowing a mixture of grass and legumes in agrosilvopastoral systems
• Using Sumac for Olive Curing
On the event day, audience members will be invited to schedule one-on-one meetings to learn more from innovators during the afternoon session. This will allow participants to ask specific questions relevant to their own situations, and to learn more about the innovations of greatest interest to them.
Part of LIVINGAGRO’s Living Laboratories, such connections between audience members and presenters will enable the establishment of new contacts and the sharing of information on innovative ideas, machinery, techniques, and services. The aim is to bring together innovators and those who may use their innovations, encouraging mutually beneficial discussions that could inspire collaborations. Two similar LIVINGAGRO B2B events that occurred online in July and December 2021 in Crete, Greece, did lead to new collaborations between presenters and audience members.
For more information about the event’s agenda please consult the event dedicated page at the following link on the project ICT platform.
For attending the event online use the following link.
This event is being organized in the framework of the “LIVINGAGRO – Cross Border Living laboratories for Agroforestry” project which is co-financed by the European Union (90%) through the ENI CBC Med Programme 2014 – 2020 and National Resources (10%). Rather than simply doing research in isolated labs, LIVINGAGRO partners in Italy, Lebanon, Jordan, and Greece have asked farmers, company representatives, policy makers and other stakeholders who work with olive oil and grazed woodlands for input about the types of problems they need to solve, as well as the most workable solutions.
Many survey respondents indicated a desire to increase their product’s quality, improve plant health and/or soil fertility, reduce their production costs, increase the quantity produced, and reduce their use of chemical products. Innovations have been identified that can meet those needs as well as others.
The LIVINGAGRO team invites all who are interested to learn more, whether online or in person, at the B2B event in Beirut.
For more information concerning the event please contact Dr. Milad El Raichy at phone nr. +961 70 218 438 or email address email@example.com.
Greek field trial works on enhancing natural regeneration and establishment of valonia oak using soil covers
In the framework of the field trials that are being implemented in the LIVINGAGRO project in order to test innovations for the Mediterranean agroforestry sector, an experiment was performed in Greece concerning natural regeneration of valonia oak forests.
The valonia oak forests in Greece are traditional silvopastoral systems used for livestock grazing and acorn collection (for feed and tanneries). During the past decades, these systems have faced some challenges from human and natural factors that result, among other things, in low natural regeneration (Figure 1 included in the news image). Grazing has been pin-pointed as the primary cause for this. To test this hypothesis, we established permanent experimental plots in 2014 which enabled us to test a number of possible factors.
After almost 8 years of grazing exclosure, the natural regeneration is still low. So, motivated by the LIVINGAGRO project, we looked at other possible causes of this poor natural vegetation, with drought being one of them. For this, we established a field trial in May 2021 to test the effect of soil covers on soil moisture and properties, and the valonia oak’s natural vegetation. We evaluated seedlings’ survival and growth in July 2021, October 2021 and April 2022 (Figure 3 included in the news image).
After almost a year, the results are promising, but long-term monitoring is needed to evaluate the regeneration and to draw environmentally sound conclusions. The trial will continue this year with more focused and confined protection on already established seedlings.
Texts provided by:
Anastasia Pantera1, Andreas Papadopoulos1, Panagiotis Kalaitzis2, Lisa Radinovsky2
1: Agricultural University of Athens, School of Plant Science, Department of Forestry and Natural Environment Management, Greece
2: Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Chania (MAICH), Department of Horticultural Genetics and Biotechnology, Chania, Greece
LIVINGAGRO capitalization webinar
On June 28, 2022 the Italian National Research Council (CNR) organized a project capitalization webinar that concentrated on innovation and transfer of knowledge regarding Mediterranean multifunctional olive systems (the focus of LIVINGAGRO’s Living Lab 1). Stakeholders of the involved project countries (Greece, Italy, Jordan and Lebanon) participated in the webinar. This event followed a first capitalization webinar focused on grazed woodlands (the project’s second Living Lab), which was organized by CNR on January 28, 2021 to investigate innovations and best practices for this agroforestry sector.
Multifunctional olive systems in the Mediterranean Basin include agroforestry systems that highly contribute to sustaining local economies, providing both plant and animal products. Today, there is a strong demand from farmers for an integrated system of good practices that guarantee the sustainability of production, the transfer of innovation and the increase in profitability for the territories and individuals involved. The LIVINGAGRO project addresses these issues using an Open Innovation approach, based on the establishment of a Living Laboratory on multi-functional olive systems that will allow the co-creation of useful innovations based on interactions between suppliers of innovations and those who will use them, eliminating geographical and cultural barriers.
The capitalization event started with a welcome and brief introduction to the topic by the event moderator, Federica ROMANO, LIVINGAGRO Communication Manager, which was followed by an intervention by Sara MALTONI of the Regional Forest Agency for Land and Environment of Sardinia (Fo.Re.S.T.A.S. – LIVINGAGRO Leading Partner), who presented the LIVINGAGRO project to participants, focusing on the main activities implemented, results achieved to date, and upcoming initiatives. The floor went then to Claudio PORQUEDDU from the Italian National Research Council, Institute for the Animal Production System in the Mediterranean Environment (CNR ISPAAM) of Sassari, who introduced the topic of multifunctional olive systems in the Mediterranean area, reporting on the general situation and the main threats and challenges the sector is facing.
In the second session of the event, four panelists representing LIVINGAGRO partners introduced the context of olive tree growing in the project countries. The session started with Luciana BALDONI of the Italian National Research Council, Institute of Biosciences and BioResources (CNR IBBR) of Perugia, continuing with Panagiotis KALAITZIS of the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Chania (MAICh) in Greece, Milad EL RIACHI from the Lebanese Agricultural Research Institute (LARI) and Salam AYOUB of the National Agricultural Research Center (NARC) in Jordan. Each presentation highlighted the role and current trend of multi-functional olive systems in Italy, Greece, Lebanon and Jordan, focusing on the relevant innovations for the sector identified within the LIVINGAGRO project. The main innovations presented included solutions related to
- Agronomic practices for agroforestry systems’ sustainability (nature-based solutions)
- Precision irrigation and resistant olive tree species for adaptation to climate change
- Enhancement of cultural traditions and plant genetic heritage
- DNA-based authentication of olive trees and olive oil
- Innovative disease and pest management in agroforestry systems (e.g. re the olive fly)
- Self-reseeding species to be used as fodder and forage
- Practices for increasing yield while protecting biodiversity and avoiding land abandonment
The final session was dedicated to the capitalization of findings and results of two projects which dealt with topics related to multifunctional olive systems. These were the “Arimnet REFORMA” project, presented by Luciano PECETTI from the Italian Council for Agricultural Research and Economics (CREA) and the “MOLTI” project by Enrico LODOLINI from the same institution (CREA), which focus on the improvement of production in traditional, dense and high-density olive orchards. An open discussion with webinar participants followed, allowing the public to submit contributions and questions for the panelists.
Closing remarks were made by Adolfo ROSATI from the Italian Council for Agricultural Research and Economics (CREA). He focused on integrated agricultural systems, offering the example of an olive orchard where wild asparagus and poultry are grown together, establishing an integrated farming system. Dr. Rosati highlighted the benefits of this practice in terms of soil consumption, energy use, farmers’ income, and circular economy good practices.
Highlights of a field visit in Jordan
In the framework of LIVINGAGRO, twenty field visits are being carried out in the four project countries (Greece, Italy, Jordan and Lebanon) by April 2023. The goal is to assess the needs of agroforestry farmers and economic operators, transfer knowledge and exchange information concerning their innovation needs. On June 29, for example, a field visit was organized in Jordan by the National Agricultural Research Center (NARC). The 15 participants included researchers, agriculture extension agents, farmers and forest association representatives.
The participants first visited the Taybeh organic farm in Wadi Rajeb/Ajloun, where they learned about the use of permaculture principles and the organic farming system for growing fruit trees (olive, citrus, date palm and avocado) and vegetable crops. On the farm, the agricultural production has been diversified with the introduction of native and non-native productive and non-productive trees and shrubs, as well as by introducing swales and ponds, fire breaks and wind breaks.
On the same day, there was also a visit to an olive farm in Sakhra/Ajloun to learn more about the use of an innovative technique for supplemental irrigation of olive trees during the summer months using rainwater harvested during winter and kept in plastic barrels (sub-soil irrigation). In addition, visitors were able to find out about a mobile phone application that supports farmers by helping them determine and control the time and quantity of irrigation water as well as integrating pest management to control the spread of the olive fruit fly on the farm.
Discovering Greek innovations in the Catalogue of Innovations, Episode 4
Having identified potentially useful innovations, the partners of the LIVINGAGRO project developed a Catalogue intended to provide an overview of some of the innovations that may be useful to stakeholders involved with multifunctional olive systems and grazed woodlands. This can help bring together economic stakeholders and innovators who may be able to collaborate to solve common problems. This activity included assessing the stage of readiness of a potential innovation, as well as which type of challenges it addresses. Taking into consideration the needs expressed by stakeholders, the research team of the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Chania (MAICh) and the technical team reviewed the information provided. Following this review, the working group went back to the innovators to address questions and fill in gaps, then incorporated the responses into the innovation descriptions.
Introduction to section 1 of the Catalogue concerning the re-use of traditional practices in agroforestry
In agroforestry, trees or shrubs are grown in or around pastureland and/or agricultural crops. Silvopastoralism, a type of agroforestry that combines livestock grazing and trees, was and still is a traditional land use system in many areas. For example, in Xeromero, Aetoloakarnania in western Greece, livestock breeders have used the valonia oak forest for grazing as well as collecting acorn cups from the oaks for use in the tanning industry. Agrosilvopastoralism is another kind of agroforestry where livestock is introduced in the field after the completion of the annual crop. On the island of Kea in the Aegean Sea, farmers used to grow cereals and legumes between trees for both human consumption and as feed for the animals. Greek olive farmers have also traditionally grown annual crops for the market or for grazing animals among their trees – or simply allowed livestock to graze on wild plants in the groves. Lately, there has been a gradual abandonment of this kind of combined land use, with a preference for monoculture, such as olive trees grown alone.
However, using forests and olive groves for multiple purposes has many benefits. For example, it ensures a steady and enhanced economic return every year, with a reduced risk of losses due to weather conditions or other types of hazards. Agroforestry can also increase biodiversity, reduce the impact of pests, enrich soil nutrient content, reduce erosion, improve carbon sequestration, and help reduce the risk and severity of forest fires. For these reasons, a return to productive old ways can become a useful innovation that allows farmers and livestock breeders to both increase their incomes from the production of high quality products, and help preserve valuable forest lands and olive groves using sustainable practices.
Presentation of Innovation 4: Livestock grazing in olive agroforestry systems
It has been estimated that olive groves cover an area of 700,000 hectares (ha) in Greece, with 124,311 of those hectares forming agroforestry systems in which crops or pasture is established in the lush understory of the olive trees. In these agroforestry systems, the understory usually consists of herbaceous vegetation for animal grazing, vegetables, or crops such as cereals and legumes. With a density of 50-100 mature trees per hectare, olive agroforestry constitutes a traditional land use practice in all the parts of the country that have a mild Mediterranean climate. Almost all the olive trees in the traditional systems were derived from wild plants that were grafted onto the tree trunk at a height of 2 meters in order to avoid animal browsing. These olive trees can be combined with grazing animals (sheep, cattle, goats, even honey bees, pigs or chickens) that may graze on the spontaneous vegetation (wild plants) or on planted crops (such as wheat or barley) in the grove.
olive agroforestry, grazing animals, grazing, livestock, traditional practice, herbaceous vegetation, low tree density, high tree age, understory productivity, animal feeding, grain production, hay, profit for farmers, agroforestry, olive growing, olive groves
Traditional olive agroforestry systems are found at lower elevations, with trees scattered in the plot or planted in rows. In the first case (trees scattered in the plot), herbaceous vegetation grows, producing animal feed from early fall to late spring. In addition, when shrubs exist in the understory, animals (especially goats) may graze during the summer. The only time grazing is interrupted is during the olive harvest, usually from mid-October to the end of November. Regarding the second case (trees planted in rows), the tree spacing is usually 10X10m. Between the tree rows, farmers can cultivate cereals (oats, barley, wheat, etc.) for grain production and/or legumes (common vetch, chickpeas, etc.) for hay and soil amelioration. Sowing time is usually between mid-October and mid-November, after the first autumn rains and the olive harvest. Sometimes farmers cultivate mixtures of cereals and legumes for hay production. Animals may graze on the stubble after the cereals or mixtures are harvested.
In the case of spontaneous vegetation in the understory of olive trees, the key factor is grazing management, including the grazing capacity, stocking rate, time of grazing, and grazing system. In the second case, the key factor is tree management (pruning, management of cut branches, harvest time). All of this will be discussed in more detail in the LIVINGAGRO B2B presentation, and a local agronomist can provide additional advice related to each specific case.
1. Improves the olive agroforestry system’s microclimate
2. Enables low-input cultivation
3. Lowers fertilizer expenses due to “green” manure from grazing animals
4. Provides effective use of understory vegetation
5. Increases the farmer’s income with livestock husbandry products
6. Increases plant and animal diversity, which reduces problems with pests
7. Intercropping with cereals and legumes improves tree productivity
8. The olive tree root system helps filter deeper soil layers and avoid groundwater pollution from fertilizers
Olive agroforestry systems are more economically sustainable than monocultures since they can reduce farmers’ expenses, improve orchard health, and increase farmers’ income. They can provide income from more than one source: olive products (olive oil and edible olives), animal husbandry products (dairy and meat), grain from cereals, and hay from legumes for feeding livestock.
Traditional and modern olive agroforestry systems are usually not irrigated, so their productivity depends mainly on annual precipitation. Dry years may reduce the total productivity.
Next steps/potential extension
Olive agroforestry products could increase farmers’ income and help the local economy even more if they were labelled and promoted as local specialty products and/or environmentally friendly products.
Find out more
Konstantinos Mantzanas, PhD
Research and Teaching Staff
Laboratory of Rangeland Ecology
Faculty of Forestry and Natural Environment
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
In the next Episode: Innovation 5, Olive tree, wild asparagus and free-range chicken polyculture!