Agroforestry is the intentional combining of 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.
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 the two main ways that you can introduce silvopasture practices on your property.
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.