Agroforestry in the Northeast


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  • --Ubiquitous in tropical world, likely predating annual crop agriculture by many millennia.
  • Agroforestry in the Northeast

    1. 1. Agroforestry in the Northeast<br />Tree Crops -- Ecosystem Management --<br />Whole-systems Regeneration<br />Huge Thanks to Kat Anderson; Dave Jacke; Ethan Roland; and Jon Young.<br />
    2. 2. What is Agroforestry?<br />Agroforestry island use integrating trees and/or tree crops with other types of agriculture.<br /> --Agroforestry is older than annual agriculture. <br /> --Agroforestry can bemultifunctional, overyielding ecosystem management.<br />
    3. 3. Characteristics of AF<br />The three I’s:<br />Intentional<br />Intensive<br />Interconnected <br />The Rule of 3: An AF system must have at least 3 “layers” or managed functional elements. <br /> (i.e., an orchard with grass understory is not AF.)<br />
    4. 4. The Roots – Indigenous AF Worldwide<br />
    5. 5. Tropical AF – Ubiquitous, Invisible to the West<br />Read 1491 by Charles Mann. Current Amazonian rainforest diversity is a result of thousands of years of native agroforestry.<br />Hawai’ianAhupua’a– whole-watershed management from mountain to sea, cared for by extended family networks. <br />
    6. 6. Temperate & Mediterranean Agroforestry<br />Wherever acorns are found….<br />
    7. 7. Balanoculture<br />
    8. 8. Tending the Wild Across North America<br />Kat Anderson spent 17 years interviewing native elders from around California. <br />Their stories illustrate whole-ecosystem caretaking based on agroforestry and managing wild plant and animal populations for harvest. <br />Analagous patterns are found in the history (and sometimes present day) of every inhabited ecosystem in North America.<br />
    9. 9. Soaproot – Chlorogalum spp.<br />A “wild” plant physiologically <br />adapted to human harvesting<br /> and use.<br />
    10. 10. Cork Oak Savanna<br />
    11. 11. Paradigm Shifts<br />Not just harvesting crops or wild foods – managing the (complex and changing) ecosystems that support those species in abundance.<br />Native land use patterns result in heritage ecosystems.<br />With regenerative land use practices,human economic activities increase ecosystem health.<br />
    12. 12. References on Indigenous AF<br />Tending the Wild – M. Kat Anderson<br />It Will Live Forever – Julia Parker & Beverly Ortiz<br />1491 – Charles Mann<br />Changes in the Land – William Cronon<br />Enduring Seeds – Gary Paul Nabhan<br />The Voice of the Dawn – Frederick Matthew Wiseman<br />…and ultimately, the elders themselves.<br />
    13. 13. Coppice: Traditional European Agroforestry<br />
    14. 14. The Coppice Cycle<br />
    15. 15. Coppice Products: Unlimited Potential<br />Baskets – Furniture – Buildings – Tools – FUEL<br />…..and more!<br />
    16. 16. Coppice and Standard<br />Understory: coppice<br />Overstory: mast trees.<br />Other yields: wild <br />plant & fungus food & <br />medicine, wild game,<br />silvopasture…<br />Whole Ecosystem Management<br />
    17. 17. So….<br />What the heck does all this mean in the Northeast US???<br />
    18. 18. Northeast US Forest Characteristics<br />Temperate forest ecosystem; 40+ inches of rain distributed evenly through the year.<br />Most forests are under 100 years old – old-growth very rare and extremely fragmented.<br />Coastal prairies and savannas almost completely gone – huge loss of diverse early-succession habitats.<br />Near-complete fire suppression.<br />And…<br />
    19. 19. A 10,000+ Year History of Agroforestry in the Northeast<br />
    20. 20. Why Implement AF Now?<br />Overyielding Polycultures<br />Perennial Staple Crops<br />Carbon Sequestration<br />Erosion Control & Soil Fertility Renewal<br />Sustainable, Local, Carbon-Neutral Fuel<br />Habitat Regeneration<br />Productive Use of Marginal/Degraded Land<br />Enhancement of Existing Farm Systems<br />= BIOREGION REPAIR<br />
    21. 21. 4 Strategies for AF Implementation<br />1. Enhance Existing Farm Systems & Solve Problems with Agroforestry Elements<br />2. Implement Proven AF Crop Systems<br />3. Trial, Research, and Develop Commercially Unproven AF Crop Systems<br />4. Manage Existing Landscapes as Heritage Ecosystems<br />
    22. 22. 1. Enhance Existing Farm Systems & Solve Problems with Agroforestry Elements<br />Windbreaks<br />Riparian Buffers<br />Hedgerows<br />
    23. 23. 2. Implement Commercially Proven AF Crop Systems<br />Alley Cropping<br />Forest Farming<br />Silvopasture<br />
    24. 24. 3. Trial, Research, and Develop Commercially Unproven AF Crop Systems & Techniques<br />A few ideas:<br />Fruit/nut orchard with diverse perennial crop understory<br />Prescribed fire management in nut tree-based AF systems<br />Trial uncommon fruits for small commercial markets within AF systems, such as:<br />Juneberry<br />American Persimmon<br />Pawpaw<br />Jujube<br />Honeyberry<br />Hardy Kiwi<br />4-part controlled experiment with biochar and mycoculture in an AF crop system.<br />
    25. 25. 4. Manage Existing Landscapes as Heritage Ecosystems<br />Shifting baselines – long-term declines in biodiversity & ecological health are invisible in the short term. Look to traditional land use for appropriate baselines of health and diversity.<br />Many keystone species are gone or highly restricted. Design for apex predators.<br />Heritage ecosystems require management and commitment on the part of an entire community. Invest in and heal family and neighbor relationships. Ensure that the children are connected with the land.<br />Ancestral diets were many times more diverse than our current diet. Renew a wide diversity of heritage foods. Celebrate and share them with seasonal festivals.<br />We are the ultimate keystone species – the future of the earth’s living systems literally rests in our hands. <br />