The John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation’s International Summer School 2011 on Mediterranean Agroforestry and its Role in the Present Environmental Challenges is over, completing the Summer School cycle focusing on the environment since 2009.
Agroforestry is a sustainable land management system, which increases overall production and combines agricultural plants and trees—possibly also animals—applying land management practices compatible with the local population’s farming traditions.
The main conclusion resulting from the summer school is that agroforestry systems should be favoured over monocultures since they can be a good profession for young people and. Additionally, these ecosystems maintain and enhance biodiversity, are more stable and less likely to be affected by epidemics and diseases hence, according to scientific research results, they can increase the income of farmers/livestock breeders by 37%. It is estimated that agroforestry systems will acquire greater value in the future because of increased production demands, while they are expected to constitute an active factor in the support and development of professional opportunities.
The International Summer School’s goal was to collect and share with the Greek and foreign students and researchers the most recent scientific developments, thus contributing to the development of a new generation of scientists who will focus on the application of traditional farming methods. Participants had the opportunity to exchange opinions and to extensively analyze the various practices being used internationally in the agroforestry field.
The Technological Education Institute of Lamia was the organiser and co-organisers were the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, the University of Florence, Italy, and the University of Extremadura, Spain. The International Summer School, which took place July 4–15, 2011 at the ''Pallas Athena'' building, was attended by 34 Master’s and PhD students from 11 countries; 27 professors from 8 countries also participated. It has been exclusively funded by the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation in an effort to enhance the extroversion of Greek academia through encouraging cooperation with institutions from abroad.