The 4th World Congress on Agroforestry (picture @Cirad)

Held every five years and hosted for the first time by Europe; researchers, farmers, scientists, political and economic decision-makers from around 100 countries are raising awareness about the need to plant trees not only to protect declining biodiversity, but also to save agricultural yields.

"Agroforestry is first of all the tree. And the tree is at the heart of agricultural systems," says Michel Eddi, CEO of the Center for International Cooperation in Agricultural Research for Development (CIRAD).

Christian Dupraz, president of the National Institute of Agronomic Research (INRA) and scientific committees acknowledged that "agroforestry extends its roots in France and in the world."

According to the French Association of Agroforestry (AFAF), "trees structure semi-natural habitats, which shelter a diversified fauna and flora essential for agriculture and promote pollination and the fight against insect pests."

"We don't conceive agriculture without trees, they provide us with wood and fodder for livestock," says Seydou Kabore, manager of Guie agroforestry farm in Burkina Faso.

DR Congo's forestry economics minister, Rosalie Matondo, noted that his country "needs a climate-smart agroforestry model where trees are combined with agriculture and livestock."

This mixture, she believes, "will help alleviate poverty and protect the ecosystem".  May 20, is celebrated World Bee Day. FAO Deputy Director María-Helena Semedo noted that "agroforestry promotes biodiversity and pollinators."

For three days, the conference will be an opportunity for participants to share their experiences and firm resolutions are expected for a better consideration of biodiversity in cultural practices.

An "International Agroforestry Union" will also be set up to break down best agricultural practices that take into account the protection of biodiversity around the world.

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