Agroforestry combines agricultural and forestry practices to improve environmental quality, productivity and economic returns.
The University of Minnesota offers educational programs on specific agroforestry practices including:
- Windbreaks for fields, farmsteads, and livestock.
- Living snow fences.
- Managing wooded pastures for trees and livestock.
- Growing and harvesting non-timber products from woodlands.
Alley cropping is the planting of rows of trees or shrubs wide enough to create alleyways within which agronomic or forage crops are planted or produced. Learn how alley cropping can reduce soil erosion and improve crop production.
Forest farming is the cultivation of high-value specialty crops in woodlands which are managed to provide suitable shade and site conditions. There's more to harvest in your woods than just trees!
Riparian buffers are strips of trees, shrubs, grasses and forbs along waterways. Riparian buffers prevent pollution, provide habitat, and can generate income.
With the right plants, you can profit from buffers. For example, you could grow pollinator-friendly forbs and grasses, native seeds, berries, hazelnuts and decorative woody florals.
Silvopasture intentionally integrates the management of trees, forages, and grazing livestock for a production benefit. Learn how you can introduce silvopasture practices on your property.
- Cattle in your aspen woodlands - Growing forage and wood products (video: 08:58)
- Managing problem plants in silvopasture systems
- Silvopasture: Establishment and Management Principles for Minnesota, a best management practice manual that reviews all aspects of silvopasture.
- Silvopasture Learning Network is a research, outreach and peer networking program that teaches land owners and managers the use of silvopasture for oak savanna restoration.
Sign up for our 5-part online course and receive a weekly email giving you an introduction to silvopasture, oak savanna, ecosystem restoration, and what it means when you stir them all together.
Windbreaks are plantings of trees, shrubs, or a combination of the two installed to reduce wind speed in an agricultural area. Windbreaks can provide many benefits but should be carefully designed to meet your goals.
Selecting the right trees and shrubs for your area and situation is extremely important to make sure your windbreak is effective and long lasting.
Living snow fences are windbreaks that help keep drifting snow off of highways and roadways.
Video: Red Cedar: Friend or Foe? Exploring Management and Markets (5:14) — Red cedar is known as an aggressive native. If not managed well, the species can spread and become a nuisance, potentially causing a negative impact on the landscape. Yet, if managed well, red cedars offer many benefits.