Agroforestry is the intentional integration of trees and shrubs into traditional crop and livestock enterprises to achieve multiple benefits.  It is generally characterized using the four “I’s”:
  • Intentional – Planned and designed systems that work holistically 
  • Intensive – actively managed and maintained
  • Integrated – managing crops, livestock, trees, and shrubs as a system rather than individually 
  • Interactive – capitalizes on the complex interactions amongst elements of the systems  

Agroforestry practices are designed to fit specific niches within the farm to meet specific landowner objectives.  Five distinct practices are recognized under agroforestry:

1. Riparian/Upland Forest Buffers
2. Windbreaks/Shelterbelts/Living Snowfence
3. Alley Cropping
4. Silvopasture
5. Forest Farming

Agroforestry is an underutilized land management system that can substantially reduce wind and water erosion, sedimentation, nutrient pollution, while providing positive benefits for wildlife and carbon sequestration, not to mention the fruit, nuts, biomass, or other specialty products that many agroforestry practices produce.
To educate landowners, natural resource professionals, farmers, and the general public, Trees Forever and partners are providing agroforestry outreach through workshops, field days, press releases, and on-farm learning through 2016.  We have several opportunities to get engaged and learn more in the coming weeks and months.
For more information or deeper understanding contact Jeff Jensen with Trees Forever at 515-320-6756.

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New to agroforestry?  Want to share with others?  This agroforestry tool kit provides the basics for teaching others about agroforestry; what it is, the practices that comprise it, the opportunities and benefits for landowners, and a few perennial crop options complete with case studies.