Monday, November 18, 2013

Agroforestry and the Future of Farming

What is agroforestry, you ask?  Agroforestry is an integrated approach of using the interactive benefits from combining trees and shrubs with crops and/or livestock.  It combines the technologies of agriculture and forestry to create more diverse, productive, profitable, healthy, and sustainable land-use systems. It offers increased productivity, economic benefits, and more diversity in the ecological goods and services provided.

Depending upon the application, potential impacts of agroforestry can include:
  • Reducing poverty through increased production of wood and other tree products for home consumption and sale
  • Contributing to food security by restoring the soil fertility for food crops
  • Cleaner water through reduced nutrient and soil runoff
  • Countering global warming and the risk of hunger by increasing the number of drought-resistant trees and the subsequent production of fruits, nuts and edible oils
  • Reducing deforestation and pressure on woodlands by providing farm-grown fuelwood
  • Reducing or eliminating the need for toxic chemicals (insecticides, herbicides, etc.)
  • Through more diverse farm outputs, improved human nutrition
  • In situations where people have limited access to mainstream medicines, providing growing space for medicinal plants
Agroforestry practices may also realize a number of other associated environmental goals, such as:
  • Carbon sequestration
  • Odor, dust, and noise reduction
  • Green space and visual aesthetics
  • Enhancement or maintenance of wildlife habitat

Sustainable America has more information about agroforestry here.

Until next time...become the change you imagine.