How Agroforestry Works

Agroforestry in Landscaping

­Trees aren't the quickest growing plants. They take years to grow and mature, which means there isn't a lot of room for mistakes when planting them on the agroforestry level. The benefits each forester is hoping to realize depend on accurate and appropriate selection and care. To help in making the best determination possible, landowners should take part in a landscape assessment.

A landscape assessment will look at the condition of the land's resources within a larger planning area, determining the relationship between the landscape structure, environment and agroforestry options [source: Bentrup]. Your local resource agency or planning organization should be able to help you with an assessment.

There are several advantages small property owners could realize in relation to large-scale industrial forestry sites:

  • Planning around a small specific site will allow the landowner the opportunity of using his resources and climate conditions to the best of his ability.
  • The small scale could allow the landowner the opportunity to specialize in a specific kind of timber. This could create the chance at optimal profits along with the environmental benefits.
  • Having a small tree crop allows for more hands-on, specific management yielding better quality produce.
  • Trees provide many benefits that are not always thought of, such as wildlife habitats, aesthetic value and livestock shelter. These may be great assets to any size land.

There are several disadvantages small property owners could realize in relation to large-scale industrial forestry sites:

  • It could be challenging to get recognition and funding.
  • Smaller budgets make it hard to get the machinery or education on technique and practices.
  • Planting and maintenance are important factors and landowners may need to hire laborers.

It's more of a challenge to profit from small quantities of wood when harvesting and marketing are as costly as they can be [source: World Agroforestry Centre].­

For more information on how to get even greener, visit the links below.

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  • Bentrup, G., M Dosskey, and G. Wells. "Conducting Landscape Assessments for Agroforestry. USDA National Agroforestry Center. Accessed 11/23/2008.
  • Elevitch, C. R. and K. M. Wilkinson. "Economics of Farm Forestry: Financial Evaluation for Landowners." Agroforestry Guides for the Pacific Islands #7. 2000.
  • National Agroforestry Center. "
  • Natural Resource Conservation Service. "Fitting Agroforestry to the Landscape." United States Department of Agriculture.
  • Rietveld, B and K Irwin. "Agroforestry in the United States." USDA National Resource Conservation Service.1996.
  • University of Illinois Extension. "Agroforestry." Accessed 12/1/2008
  • World Agroforestry Centre. "Introduction to Agroforestry." Accessed 11/23/2008.
  • World Agroforestry Center. "Our history: more than 30 years of agroforestry research and development." Accessed 11/30/2008.