In the final seminar of the Agroforestry in Barents Region project, we heard several presentations from agroforestry experts from Finland and Norway. During the project, each partner has been conducting their own research and case studies in areas such as berry harvesting, chaga and resin collection, and the socioeconomic aspects of utilizing forest products.
Summaries of results from the research done during the project are showcased in the seminar. In Norway, the pilot study carried out in the Agroforest project by NIBIO focused on lingonberry and bilberry. In inner part of Troms, five berry plots were monitored intensively for three years and the data was collected to show the averages of flower and berry amounts, pollination percentages, et cetera.
Similarly, in Finland, LUKE has been experimenting with manipulations on bilberry vegetation to see if the yield would increase. So far the research shows that strip cutting the plots might have beneficial effects. Finding the potential harvesting areas isn’t simple and the good yield areas change annually – coverage maps, weather models and map visualizations are developed as aids to this issue.
The chaga experiments done by Lapland UAS have also been successful; after cultivating and using inoculated plugs, visible chaga conks and bulgings were seen on the birch trees after only two years! Growing chaga conks takes years, so time and further research will tell the full effect of this experiment.
The future of agroforestry in the Barents region holds more efficient ways of utilizing non-wood forest products, new product innovations and a focus on the socioeconomic aspects. Even though the Agroforestry in Barents Region project has come to an end, the research done by our partners, the Lapland UAS, NIBIO and LUKE, goes on.