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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Ames, Iowa » National Laboratory for Agriculture and The Environment » Soil, Water & Air Resources Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #240982

Title: Sustainable development and use of ecosystems with non-forest trees

item Sauer, Thomas

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/9/2009
Publication Date: 10/14/2010
Citation: Sauer, T.J. 2010. Sustainable development and use of ecosystems with non-forest trees. In: Stigter, K., editor. Applied Agrometeorology. p. 701-705.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Non-forest trees are components of managed ecosystems including orchards and agroforestry systems and natural ecosystems such as savannas and riparian corridors. Each of these ecosystems includes trees but does not have a complete tree canopy or spatial extent necessary to create a true forest ecosystem. Nonetheless, orchards, agroforestry, savannas, and riparian corridors each represent important land uses in terms of their ecosystem services and in supplying food and fiber for human use. As population expansion puts ever-increasing demands on land for food and fiber production, greater use of non-forest trees offer great potential to increase productivity on a land unit basis by strategic capture of resources not currently utilized by existing land use. In order to sustain this higher level of resource use, careful management must be employed that enhances conservation, recycling, or replacement of water, nutrients, and carbon within the ecosystem. In managed ecosystems these objectives can be achieved through a variety of practices including composting and mulching with organic residues (leaf litter, crop residues, food processing residuals, and animal manures), which can be used to cover the soil surface and conserve water by reducing evaporation. Recycling of these organic materials will enhance soil organic matter content leading to improved soil quality and resiliency. In these ways, integrating trees into production systems increases opportunities to both increase productivity and provide an adaptive strategy for climate extremes.