Invited Speakers

Protecting the Earth and Her Human Inhabitants through Multifunctional Agroforestry

Dr. Sarah Lovell, Director for the Center for Agroforestry, at the grand opening of Land of the Osages Research Center. Image by: Shane Epping.

Dr. Sarah Lovell serves as H.E. Garrett Endowed Chair Professor and Director of the Center for Agroforestry at University of Missouri in the United States. This appointment follows ten years she served on the faculty at the University of Illinois and a previous three years on the faculty at University of Vermont. Her research philosophy has evolved from an interdisciplinary background, including an MS and PhD in Agronomy followed by a Master in Landscape Architecture (MLA) from University of Illinois. With a focus on the analysis and design of multifunctional landscapes, Dr. Lovell’s research program has emphasized whole-farm planning, agroforestry, and urban agriculture. The agroforestry work includes the integration of productive woody trees and shrubs into agricultural landscapes, to improve the environmental health, diversity of products, and cultural significance of the agroecosystem.

Dr. Lovell will be drawing from research on landscape multifunctionality, to consider agroforestry as a transformative landscape solution for the health of the earth and the human inhabitants. We currently face unprecedented challenges to feed a growing population, protect our limited resources, and adapt to extreme climate conditions. The health of our own human species is also in decline as a result of poor diets and sedentary lifestyles that cause the cluster of conditions we now refer to as “metabolic syndrome”. Exposure to toxins, extreme temperatures, floods, and other environmental hazards will further threaten our species into the future. Evidence suggests that these issues disproportionally impact marginalized communities, which in turn has implications for social justice. Dr. Lovell will explore new methods and applications in agroforestry that seek to improve ecosystem health by considering humans as “indicator species”. The physical, psychological and social health of human individuals and populations can serve as a guide for designing and planning the landscape to integrate agroforestry elements that are most likely to offer positive outcomes. A human-oriented approach might reach broader audiences, to gain public support that could drive new markets and policy changes.


Useful links

Agricultural heritage systems and agroforestry

Prof. Mauro Agnoletti is Associate Professor at the University of Florence, Faculty of Agriculture. He is the Director of the Laboratory for Landscape and Cultural Heritage of the University of Florence where he teaches rural landscape planning and environmental history. Most of his recent activities are dedicated to the valorization of rural landscapes and agroforestry systems. He has teaching experiences in USA, Germany, France, Poland and published more than 250 scientific papers and he is the author/editor of 20 books.

Prof. Agnoletti served as vice president of the European Society for Environmental History (2005-2009) and coordinated the research group “Forest History and traditional knowledge” at the International Union of Forest Research Organization, IUFRO (2005-2014) as well as the development of Guidelines on Social and Cultural values at the Interministerial Conference for the Protection of Forest in Europe (MCPFE, 2007) and, in 2007,  the “Landscape Strategy” of the Italian National Strategic Plan for Rural Development  (2007-2013).In 2014 he coordinated   the scientific committee for writing the UNESCO-SCBD Florence declaration on the linkages between cultural and biological diversity.

Currently, Prof. Agnoletti is chair of the scientific committee at FAO “Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems” program and the scientific coordinator of the Italian National Register of Historic of Rural Landscapes and Traditional Agricultural Practices (Ministry of Agriculture Food and Forest Policies). He serves as scientific expert of European Landscape Convention at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg and expert evaluator of Cultural Landscape (UNESCO World Heritage List).

He is president of the Landscape Observatory of the regional government of the Region Tuscany, Italy   and co-Editor in chief of the “Global Environment. Journal of interdisciplinary history”, White Horse Press, and serves as editor in chief of the book series on Environmental History, Springer Verlag. He authored the chapter on Italy, in the FAO State of the Forest of the World (2018).

Prof. Agnoletti was granted awards such as the diploma award for the contribution to the knowledge and protection of rural landscape (Regional Government of Tuscany – Ministry of Environment, 2006); the prize “Ideal city”, project for the Rural Landscape Park of Moscheta (Regional Government of Tuscany, 2008); Bologna Award, FICO Foundation, for Rural Landscape studies (2019).


Useful links

Agroforestry for sustainable animal production systems

Dr. Fabiana Villa Alves has a degree in Animal Science from Universidade Federal de Lavras (2002) and Ph.D. in Animal Science and Pastures from Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz – ESALQ/ USP (2007). Her research focus is “Sustainable Cattle Production” with particular emphasis on animal welfare and thermal comfort under integrated systems.

She is senior researcher at the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation – Embrapa Beef Cattle, in Campo Grande (MS), where she is also deputy supervisor for the Research Group on Production Systems (GSP). She collaborates on several national and international projects on her subject, being creator and leader of the recent and innovative public-private initiative “Carbon Neutral Brazilian Beef”. Having an extensive network with scientists, policy makers and the industry all over Brazil and many parts of the world, she is member of several committees, being the official representative for Brazil on FAO’s Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock (GASL) and Livestock Environmental Assessment and Performance Partnership (LEAP).


Useful links

Agroforestry for sustainability and resilience

Bart Muys is full professor of Forest Ecology and Management at KU Leuven, head of Forest, Nature & Landscape Division. He got his PhD at University of Gent (1993). After short scientific visits to CNRS-Montpellier (1988, 1990) he held his postdoc at UGent (1993-1995). He served as the director of Royal Institute for Sustainable Management of Natural Resources, Belgium, KINT (1995-1997). He was guest professor at University of Gent in 1995, at KU Leuven in 1996-1997, tenured professor at KU Leuven since 1997 and senior scientist at European Forest Institute, Barcelona office in 2012. He has been guest professor at Stellenbosch University (South Africa) in 2001 and at UGent from 2020.

Prof. Muys research fields are biodiversity function in forests – carbon, energy and water cycles in forests – sustainability, resilience and early warning indicators in forests – dryland forest restoration ecology. He has been the principal investigator or coordinator of 61 projects between 1997 and 2019. Funding sources include EU framework programmes, ERAnet, FWO, IWT, VLIR, BELSPO, BOF KU Leuven. He has been promoter of 41 successfully defended PhD’s.

His full bibliography comprises 292 publications in peer-reviewed international journals. Here, five key publications are reported:

Aertsen W., … Muys, B. 2010. Comparison and ranking of different modelling techniques for prediction of site index in Mediterranean mountain forests. Ecol. modelling, 221(8), 1119-1130.

Van de Peer T., Verheyen K., … Muys B. 2018. Overyielding in young tree plantations is driven by local complementarity and selection effects related to shade tolerance. Journal of Ecology, 106(3), 1096-1105.

Van Der Plas F., … Muys B., … Verheyen K., … Barbaro, L. 2016. Jack-of-all-trades effects drive biodiversity–ecosystem multifunctionality relationships in European forests. Nature communications, 7, 11109

Coppin P., … Muys B., Lambin E. 2004. Digital change detection methods in ecosystem monitoring: a review. Int. J. Remote sensing, 25(9), 1565-1596. (IF=1.724; 1097 citations).

Phillips HRP, … Muys B, … Eisenhauer, N. 2019. Global distribution of earthworm diversity. Science 366: 480-485.

He has been awarded the “Scription award” of the Flemish Royal Engineering Society (1986) and of the Flemish Community (1986) ; the “Inbev-Baillet-Latour Award” for the Environment (2009), the “Bosereprijs of Bos+” (2012).


Useful links

Lab page:

Personal page :

Projects page: