Agro-forest systems support fundamental economic activities to the North of Portugal, such as the production of wine, fruits, irrigated and rain fed crops, livestock and forest biomass for hardwood or energy purposes, among many others. However, these activities are also sources of multiple by-products, some of them harmful, who need to be recovered and enriched to take advantage of their potential economic value as raw materials, but also to preserve water resources and aquatic ecosystems, to guarantee long-standing soil productivity and protect agro-food chains, by preventing the diseases to spread.
An effective response to this urgency requires a new paradigm change: the shift of economy towards bio-economy.
To be successful, this challenging enterprise must be perceived by producers and, more importantly, accepted by consumers. The awareness is in the stakeholders and politicians hands, as they are the drivers to structural economic changes.
The BEST research line aims to contribute with knowledge and know-how for a gradual society change towards bio-economy. To accomplish the goal, the research line was organized in four major projects comprising several more target-oriented tasks.
ETIS: José Alcides Peres, Rui Bezerra, Domingos Lopes, José Luís Louzada, José Albino Dias, Rita Payan, Ana Sampaio, Pedro Tavares, Carla Amaral, José Aranha
Other participants: Fernando Braga, António Pirra