Economic projections suggest that trees will be a good income source for the foreseeable future. Agroforestry is the intentional mixing of trees and/or shrubs into crop/animal production systems to create environmental, economic, and social benefits. Agroforestry practices provide opportunities to integrate productivity and profitability with environmental stewardship that result in healthy and sustainable agricultural systems that can be passed on to future generations.
• Identify tree planting designs and forage‑tree combinations that optimize ecosystem productivity.
• Measure competitive and complementary biophysical interactions between crop-tree components.
• Investigate effects of cultural practices and management on forage physiology, yield, botanical composition, and tree growth.
• Examine the potential of nontraditional forages that may be adapted to the region.
Accomplishments / Impact:
• Harvesting pine straw every 2 years in the early fall can minimize soil and water losses associated with annual harvesting.
• Annual straw harvesting does not significantly affect pine survival and growth over a seven-year period.
• Levels of some health-promoting constituents in log-grown shiitake mushrooms are greater than those grown on substrate.
• Ten-year-old loblolly pine trees tend to recover rapidly from ice damage, but wide spacing leads to stem breakage.
• Orchardgrass is an excellent forage under loblolly pine trees.
• Only low rates of N fertilizer should be applied to tall fescue under loblolly pine trees.
• Grafted trees of the Eastern black walnut variety Kwik Krop produce nuts sooner than other tested varieties.
• Weed control increases the growth and survival of pine and hardwood seedling trees more than fertilizer applications and irrigation.
• Income of pecan silvopasture practices in the Midwest is determined by nut yield and prices, but timber from tree thinning can add income.
• Developed an Excel agroforestry model for pine growth and profitability.