news-16 june 2022-written by:Marieke Karssen

In the project "Attractive (food) forest landscapes," six forest landscapes are being designed, for six very different plots of landowners in Gelderland. After all, we want more and more varied forest in the Netherlands, more biodiversity, and less nitrogen and CO2. But what can you do with forest and which forest fits where? These pilots should clarify that. The condition is that the forest landscape must yield something: a combination of income (food and wood), climate resistance, CO2- and nitrogen reduction and especially biodiversity. Therefore, in this project, two estates are making their forest more biodiverse, two dairy farmers are broadening their farms in preparation for the future, a fruit grower wants more than rows of apples and wants to teach a landowner with a very high water table how to plant a food forest on it.

Six attractive recipes for more biodiverse, climate-robust and nutrient-rich forest

visitors in a food forest

It is clear that agriculture needs perspective. This project is therefore happy to provide examples for very diverse situations. Not only will a (food) forest landscape be designed for each participant, but at the end of the project figures on costs and revenues will be available to inspire other landowners. In order to make this successful, parties from various domains are working together in this project: The Plant/Food from the Forest, Stichting Voedselbosbouw Nederland, Stichting Probos and communication agency de Lynx. Funding comes from the EU and the province of Gelderland.

Wet and dry areas

A forest landscape offers perspective for different situations. For example, there are drought-sensitive areas, areas where the typesetter destroyed entire plantation forests, and excessively wet soils in the Gelderse Valley. Design and species choice are then important to create a thriving forest that is also economically viable. The six projects are all located in Gelderland:

  1. Forestry estate Welna in Epe wants to enrich a uniform coniferous forest with multiple species, for biodiversity enhancement and wood production (see below).
  2. Landgoed de Dorskamp in Wageningen wants a much richer forest that is better for biodiversity.
  3. The dairy farm of Claudi Rudorf and Howard Koster on river clay in Millingen is broadening one-sided dairy farming to regenerative agriculture including 5 hectares of food forest and agritourism (see below).
  4. The new generation takes over the Montferland dairy farm on poor sandy soil in Kilder and goes for a multifunctional farm with a food forest and campsite.
  5. Henk van den Dikkenberg wants to develop a food forest on land with a very high water level in Ederveen.
  6. Food Forest Lingehout is transforming 3.5 hectares of mixed orchard with mainly apple into a diverse and socially managed food forest.

Welna: from wood to diversity

Welna Estate, a 600-hectare area on the Veluwe, is participating with a 16-hectare piece. Bram Opdam of Welna: "As foresters we are looking for new business models, where we do less damage to ecosystems and can make the forests more diverse. We now want to convert a section into a food forest. We have enriched an adjacent piece of forest with nut trees, both for wood production and food. The challenge lies not only in the design, but also in a joint search with the province for what is desirable and how it relates to the Forest Act. The complicated thing about forest management is that you won't see decisions made now for another 30 years."

Millingen: from dairy farm to multifunctional

Claudi Rudorf and Howard Koster are from the dairy farm on river clay in Millingen. They lease 25 hectares of land from Land van Ons, to eventually start widening it with eight other entrepreneurs and many volunteers. Claudi: "We would like to convert 5 hectares into food forests. We also have plans for arable farming, a market garden for vegetable packets, a picking garden and a store. I studied hotel management and Howard is a soil scientist. He also wants to do research on compost. Our ideal is to connect people more with nature through food. We are happy to participate in Forest Landscapes, because we would like to come up with a good design for the food forest on very good soil."

Inspiration for farmers and other landowners

This spring and summer, designs will be made with the owners. Interviews and videos will show what the owners are experiencing and what will change for them. Then the design will go into an online tool that all landowners can use to budget the idea and work out in terms of plant list for their own land. In November there will be a final meeting with the stories of the six landowners and the online tool. We will also present the costs, benefits and organizational issues at that time. In this way, we hope that more landowners will dare to make the step towards more biodiverse, climate-robust and nutrient-rich forest. Both within forestry and agriculture.

Would you like more information about this project? Call or email Marieke Karssen, 0654905309

The six landscapes introduce themselves

Landgoed de Dorskamp in Wageningen (approx. 70 hectares) has recently been handed over to the younger generation. The mission was and still is to maintain the estate sustainably at acceptable management costs. The aim is to create an attractive, beautiful forest in which people can find peace and quiet and walk. The nature of the forest is important and with a one hectare food forest we hope to further support biodiversity.

Dairy farm in Millingen expands single-purpose dairy farming to regenerative agriculture including 5 hectares of food forest.

How can you make a food forest for land with a very high water level? Then there is only one place in Gelderland and that is Ederveen.

Forestry estate Welna in Epe wants to enrich a vulnerable monoculture plantation forest with multiple species, suitable for biodiversity enhancement and wood production.

Food Forest Lingehout is transforming 3.5 hectares of mixed orchard with mainly apple into a diverse and socially managed food forest.

The new generation takes over the Montferland dairy farm on poor sandy soil in Kilder and goes for a combination of food forest and camping.

Project partners: