Agroforestry describes a wide range of practices that integrate trees, forests, and agricultural production. These systems can be adapted to almost any site and condition, though considerations like climate, slope, soil characteristics, and grower objectives will ultimately determine the crops that are appropriate for a specific piece of land.
Examples of crops include mushrooms, maple and other tree syrups, ginseng, ramps, fruit and nut trees, and more. For farmers with forest on their land these enterprises are a great way to diversify the land and add some extra income. In response to increasing interest in agroforestry over the years, Cornell has created a number of tools and resources to help woodlot owners start farming their forests.
Contact: Steve Gabriel, Agroforestry Extension Specialist firstname.lastname@example.org
Forest Mushroom Cultivation
This website provides resources for farmers and woodlot owners who are interested in cultivating forest mushrooms including shiitake, lions mane, oyster, and stropharia.
Here you will find fact sheets and videos describing in detail how to grow, manage, and market forest mushrooms, along with opportunities to connect with other growers through the Temperate Forest Mushroom Growers Network of North America. www.CornellMushrooms.org
RESOURCE: Best Management Practices for Log-Based Shiitake Cultivation in the Northeastern United States – University of Vermont and Cornell have published a guide full of technical advice, step-by-step instructions, and helpful tips for growers who want to explore shiitake mushroom cultivation on their own land. Shiitake mushrooms are the second-most cultivated variety in the world, and the demand for locally produced, log-grown shiitakes is high among chefs and consumers. You can access the guide at http://blogs.cornell.edu/mushrooms/factsheets/
Tree Saps & Syrups
The Cornell Sugar Maple Program web site provides maple syrup production information for people with varied syrup knowledge, activities and information for students and teachers, extension research project information and publications, and additional resources. http://maple.dnr.cornell.edu/.
The Net Present Value calculator is a tool that allows landowners to evaluate the option to lease trees for syrup production vs. managing their trees for saw timber production. http://maple.dnr.cornell.edu/produc/tvs/index.htm.
RESOURCE: The Sugarmakers Companion, written by Michael Farrell, contains extensive information on how to develop an efficient, profitable, and enjoyable sugaring operation. Michael Farrell documents the untapped potential of American forests and shows how sugaring can turn a substantial profit for farmers while providing tremendous enjoyment and satisfaction. This book is available through Chelsea Green Publishing. http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/the_sugarmakers_companion:paperback.
MacDaniels Nut Grove is a forest farming and agroforestry research center located on the Cornell Plantations. The nut grove is host to student classes as well as public educational events. The online site provides information about forest farming and links to helpful resources. http://blogs.cornell.edu/mushrooms/nutgrove/
RESOURCE: Farming the Woods, coauthored by Steve Gabriel and Ken Mudge, guides readers through the process of cultivating, harvesting and marketing agroforestry crops. It also offers case studies of forest farmers who are currently making their living from crops like mushrooms, ginseng and nuts. For more information and to order, visit www.FarmingTheWoods.com
This practice mixes animal husbandry and forestry. Most small farms include a woodlot that has environmental, recreational, and economic benefits. The Cornell Forestry Extension Program has many valuable resources for small farm operators who want to capitalize on the benefits of these woodlots. http://www2.dnr.cornell.edu/ext/info/pubs/index.htm#silvo
VIDEOS: Featuring Brett Chedzoy and Steve Gabriel from Cornell and Joseph Orefice from Paul Smith’s College: http://www2.dnr.cornell.edu/ext/info/pubs/silvopasturing/silvopasture_video.html
RESOURCE: Silvopasturing in the Northeast by Peter Smallidge and Brett Chedzoy http://www2.dnr.cornell.edu/ext/info/pubs/MapleAgrofor/Silvopasturing3-3-2011.pdf
Cornell Forestry Extension Homepage
The Cornell Forestry Extension Program includes information for forest owners, educators, loggers, and foresters regarding how best to engage in sustainable production on private forest lands. http://www2.dnr.cornell.edu/ext/forestconnect/.