Bjørn Egil Flø

Research Scientist

(+47) 951 15 617
bjorn.flo@nibio.no

Place
Trondheim

Visiting address
Klæbuveien 153, bygg C 1.etasje, 7031 Trondheim

Abstract

Closing nutrient cycles by bio-based fertilizer products (BFPs) can improve the environmental sustainability of food systems and facilitate a more circular economy. Although the theoretical potential for nutrient recycling has been explored in detail, BFPs still seldom replace mineral fertilizer products in practice. The aim of the present study was to explore the critical enabling and limiting factors for the use of BFPs as seen from the perspective of farmers, suppliers, and civil society. To this aim, qualitative interviews were conducted with seven conventional grain farmers, six suppliers of BFPs, and five representatives of civil society, limited to environmental non-governmental organizations. The presented results illustrate a mismatch between demand and supply. On the one hand, the interviewed farmers were only interested in using BFPs if they are practical to use, balanced with respect to nutrient contents, and potentially provide the same earnings as mineral fertilizers. Positive effects for soil quality were an important driver for many of the farmers. On the other hand, the suppliers of BFPs were generally not able to offer products that fulfilled the farmers’ demands without economic losses, and they emphasized that they have faced several regulatory challenges. Representatives of regional civil society organizations expressed concern that new technical solutions could cause new environmental challenges, and that BFPs could enable further intensification of livestock production. The central-level representatives from the same NGOs, however, were positive about that BFPs can solve environmental problems. Policy instruments will be needed to increase the adoption of PFPs. Fostering BFPs’ that contribute to a sustainable agriculture is important to consider when formulating these polices.

Abstract

The MilKey project aims at assessing the environmental, economic, and social sustainability of European dairy production systems, and at identifying ‘win-win’ farming practices for sustainable and greenhouse gas (GHG) optimised milk production. In this context, a holistic model was developed to evaluate the sustainability of specialised dairy farms and was entitled DEXi-Dairy. This model has the potential of aiding the identification of GHG and nitrogen (N) emission mitigation options and assessing their effects across multiple sustainability aspects. DEXi-Dairy covers the three sustainability pillars, i.e., environmental, economic, and social. Based on the ‘DEX’ multi-criteria methodology, the model is detailed under the form of a tree structure represented by four main hierarchical layers, i.e., branches, principles, criteria, and indicators. DEXi-Dairy was built following a participatory and interdisciplinary approach by MilKey project partners. It was then tested on three case study farms from Ireland, France, and Germany, respectively, using data from 2020. The DEXi-Dairy indicator handbook describes the sustainability tree and selected indicators to assess dairy production systems over a production year. Overall, this document can be used as a basis to replicate and expand the sustainability assessment framework developed as part of the MilKey project.

Abstract

Agroforestry can be defined as sustainable and multifunctional land-use systems where trees are managed together with agricultural crops or livestock on the same piece of land. This definition fits with how the outfield has been managed in generations in Norway. The Norwegian outfields are a multifunctional land-use system. In the northern periphery area, agroforestry has a long history with woodland grazing, reindeer husbandry and gathering of different non-wood forest resources as herbs, mushrooms, and berries. Traditional agroforestry has gradually disappeared during the 20th century with the intensification of agriculture and forestry. Currently agroforestry systems are gaining new interest, not only from farmers but also from politicians, as this practice can possibly contribute to a more sustainable way of agricultural production. In the northern periphery area, the benefits of agroforestry practices can be manifold not only promoting traditional practices, but also novel systems with the use of new technology. In addition, agroforestry has environmental benefits as a method for conservation and enhancement of biodiversity, improved nutrient cycling, and water quality. Soil humus layer will also increase with several agroforestry systems leading to carbon sequestration. The Norwegian population of 5.3 mill populate an area of 323805 km2. The mainland of Norway is 323805 km2 while Svalbard and Jan Mayen represent 61022 and 377 km2, respectively. Number of persons per km2 are 14, however, as much as 82% of the Norwegian population inhabits cities/densely populated areas. These figures tell us that Norway have a large outfield with forests and mountains. The biggest owner of Norwegian outfield1 is the Norwegian state by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. The state-owned enterprise Statskog SF is set to administer the property, that alone consist of about 23% of the total outfield-area of Norway. Almost 80% of the state-owned property is above the treeline and covers mountains and alpine grassland who are valuable grazing resources for reindeer herders and local farmers. Most of the forests are also used as grazing areas for local farmers and reindeer herders. The state-owned property in the southern Norway are managed as commons, where locals have rights in commons, typically this is right to graze, hunt and fish on the state ground. In the northern part of Norway, the grazing-rights are defined as user-rights and technically not rights in commons while the right to hunt, fish and gathering of berries and herbs etc. is an “all-mans-right”.

To document

Abstract

SusCatt considered a wide range of innovations or system comparisons in the 6 countries, all aimed to improve sustainability within European cattle farming. On the whole, these involved reducing production intensity, making greater use of home-grown grass and other forage crops on farms – generally with promising results for beef and dairy production when we considered their potential impact across the 3 pillars of sustainability...

Abstract

The SusCatt project investigates alternative systems to improve sustainability in European cattle production, taking different approaches in Norway, Sweden, Germany, Poland, UK and Italy – all making greater use of pasture and forage, reducing damaging or external inputs. Rather than us deciding on how we tell everybody about findings, one project task is to ask potential audiences about their sources of information – how they gain knowledge? Ideally, this will offer guidance on an effective dissemination strategy. Project messages are relevant to multiple sectors: farmers, extension workers, consumers and policy makers. Attempts were made to survey these multiple stakeholders. We collected 236 opinions and found considerable variation, not only between groups but also between the same sectors in different countries. The most popular and highest-ranking sources overall were traditional press formats of newspapers and magazines. On the other hand, accessing information from social media was very polarised; almost non-existent for German and Polish stakeholders but widely used by UK farmers (possibly skewed by the dominance of face-to-face rather than on-line data collection). Findings suggest that each message from research projects needs a customized approach in dissemination, depending on the target audience and their regular habits of sourcing information

Abstract

Agroforestry can be defined as sustainable and multifunctional land-use systems where trees are managed together with agricultural crops or livestock on the same piece of land. In the northern periphery area, agroforestry has a long history with woodland grazing, reindeer husbandry and gathering of different non-wood forest resources as herbs, mushrooms and berries. Traditional agroforestry has gradually disappeared during the 20th century with the intensification of agriculture and forestry. Currently agroforestry systems are gaining new interest, not only from farmers but also from politicians, as this practice can possibly contribute to a more sustainable way of agricultural production. In the northern periphery area, the benefits of agroforestry practices can be manifold not only promoting traditional practices, but also novel systems with the use of new technology. In addition, agroforestry has environmental benefits as a method for conservation and enhancement of biodiversity, improved nutrient cycling, and water quality. Soil humus layer will also increase with several agroforestry systems leading to carbon sequestration. Here we present an overview of agroforestry practices in the Nordic countries and the use of non-wood forest resources with the emphasis on wild berries.

Abstract

New projects in England and Norway addresses threats to traditional collaborative management by using a collaborative and multi-partner approach to improving the goods and services from commons. These goods and services include water quality and flood protection, biodiversity, cultural landscape, access, carbon storage and archaeology. The projects will increase understanding of the heritage of commons and their role in ecosystems service provision between visitors, local communities, policy makers and farmers. Overall the aim is to seek ways that improve the dialogue with and support the contribution of commoners and commons to the delivery of public goods and services. A key aim is to address the lack of understanding of commoning and commons amongst decision makers and other organisations who influence the management of the land. A pilot project in England produced a set of ‘attributes of successful management for multiple outcomes’ and these are central to the "Our Common Cause" project, which started in England in 2017. The co-production approach will be outlined regarding the best practice in the commoning community. Given the limited opportunities to build capacity and increase capability it is essential to promote and examine good case studies to ensure that knowledge and skills exchange is viable. The trans-regional approach is essential due to the fragmented nature of commons across England and justified by the themes that arose from the regions in the pilot. The richness of experience across the country will benefit commons, commoning communities and the range of organisations (public and private) that engage with them. The FUTGRAZE project in Norway seeks to tackle the issue of 'how do formal and informal institutions concerning common grazing adapt to environmental, political and economic change over time how do these changes influence different users cooperative strategies? It examine: - current arrangements for governance, management and operation in Norwegian grazing areas; - how grazing and cooperation are affected by change in land use pressure and structural changes causing reduced number of pasture farmers in some areas and asymmetry in herd sizes in other; - how grazing areas that are organized differently solve different challenges. The paper consider three broad areas. 1. The most fundamental threat is that the role of commoners and commons is neither understood nor valued; 2. The increasing number of external pressures on commoners threatens to undermine the systems and cultural landscapes of commons; 3. The decline in commoning threatens the heritage of commons and the public goods and services they It also diminishes the resilience of commons in the face of external pressures.

To document

Abstract

In a landscape of fragmented private ownership, the need to coordinate game management across large areas presents challenges for landowners and public agencies alike. This paper describes how a recent reorganization of moose management in Norway achieves landscape-level planning while maintaining a tradition of local management by hunting teams. These two seemingly contradictory imperatives – coordinating wildlife management across large areas while keeping benefits and control in the hands of local resource users – are resolved through a nesting of management institutions, wherein the state serves a regulatory function and mid-level government (the county) serves to facilitate inter-local cooperation. This paper documents how the system is structured and describes the balance of incentives that enable the system to work. Information was gathered via interviews with staff at the Norwegian Directorate for Nature Management (now called the Norwegian Environment Agency), with wildlife management officials at the municipal level, with hunters, and from the most recent regulatory documents.