Agroforestry

Agroforestry is a land management approach that purposefully integrates the growing of trees with crops or livestock. Integration can involve:

  • deliberately retaining or adding trees or shrubs into agriculture production systems
  • deliberately adding or enhancing crops or livestock in forest production systems

Agroforestry Farm Practices

Basic Factors of Agroforestry Systems

Intentional

They are specifically designed and managed for a planned result. Objectives are to enhance overall production of both the crop/livestock and timber-based products while simultaneously providing environmental and social benefits.

Integrated

Systems are a blend of agriculture, forestry and conservation. Tree, crop and/or animal components are combined in a single management unit targeting overall production, thus the enterprise is managed and evaluated as a single system rather than as separate parts.
Integration can involve:

  • deliberately retaining or adding trees or shrubs into agriculture production systems
  • deliberately adding or enhancing crops; or livestock in forest production systems

Intensive or Extensive

Management intensity will vary depending on the system design and planned results.

Interactive

Systems are designed to minimize negative and maximize positive interactions between trees, other crops, livestock and humans.

Agroforestry Systems in B.C.

Combining agriculture, silviculture and conservation practices in the same land use system.  Five main agroforestry systems are practical for use in British Columbia:

Windbreaks/Shelterbelts/Timberbelts/Buffers

Windbreaks/Shelterbelts/Timberbelts/Buffers

These are designed to perform specific jobs. Site conditions and desired function affect design and application, and help to determine the key features of the planting.

Silvopasture

Silvopasture

The intentionally integrated system known as silvopasture, can diversify revenue, enhance environmental benefits, and boost aesthetics of agricultural or forestry operations. Silvopasture blends management of trees, forages, and livestock.

Alley Cropping

Alley Cropping

Alley cropping is an agroforestry system broadly defined as the planting of single or multiple rows of trees and/or shrubs at wide spacings to create alley-ways within which crops are cultivated. Both the crops and trees, or their products, can be harvested. Trees or shrubs are spaced to provide high light levels to the crops between them. This system suits crops that require full sun to mature and become marketable. An alley cropping example might consist of rows of trees for wood or other tree products (eg. nuts or fruit), grown in conjunction with horticultural crops (e.g. vegetables) or field crops.

Forest Farming

Forest Farming

Forest farming is an agroforestry system broadly defined as the integrated management of both timber and understory crops; it focuses on managing a stand to benefit both the trees and the understory (plants growing under the tree canopy). It is the practice of intentionally managing site resources (e.g. light levels), and growth stages of the tree and understory plants for production, environmental and social values.

Integrated Riparian Management

Integrated Riparian Management

Integrated riparian management is an agroforestry system broadly defined as the integrated management of areas adjacent to aquatic zones to enhance or protect habitat and selectively provide for other resources and values.