“What can I do with my woods?”
We are often asked this question and encourage people to check out the wide range of options with the Cornell Cooperative Extension Agroforestry Program Work Team. 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.
In response to increasing interest in agroforestry over the years, Cornell has created an extension program work team and a number of tools and resources to help woodlot owners start farming their forests. Each category below has videos, guides, and websites to help, along with the contact information of key individuals in the Cornell community you can reach out to with questions.
Join us live for our FREE bimonthly webinar series where we share the latest research and resources on a variety of topics:
March 31 - Sourcing Logs for Mushrooms
May 19th - Silvopasture Systems in New York and their Contributions to Capturing Carbon
July 21st - Growing Ginseng with Success
September 15 - Nut Production in New York: Past, Present, Future
November 17 - Maple Program Research Update
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Agroforestry and Climate Change
As the climate continues to shift, agroforestry is increasingly seen as a critical solution for farms and forested landscapes both in adapting to changes as well as mitigating impacts that further negative effects on our climate. The USDA Forest Service has published a report: Agroforestry: Enhancing Resiliency in U.S. Agricultural Landscapes Under Changing Conditions based upon a national scientific assessment of agroforestry. With contributions from more than 50 experts from the United States, Canada, and Mexico, this report presents the first-ever synthesis on agroforestry as a mechanism for improving the resiliency of agricultural lands under climate change.
NORTHEAST REGIONAL SUMMARY: https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/55738
Agroforestry is rooted in Indigenous Knowledge
While the word "agroforestry" was coined in the 1970s, many of the practices and knowledge has long been practiced around the world. While both indigenous and non-indigenous practitioners have developed agroforestry systems, often the focus is on more recent work and indigenous contributions are overlooked. Cultural sensitivity and recognition of these deep roots is important to understanding the long-term perspective needed to successfully implement agroforestry across landscapes. Some resources for further reading:
US Forest Service Agroforestry Notes: Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge in Agroforestry
Some Ecological Aspects of Northeastern American Indian Agroforestry Practices
Woodland Mushrooms can be grown in many forests. Common species produced include Shiitake, Oyster, Lions Mane, Stropharia, and Nameko. Our program is a nationwide leader in providing guidebooks, factsheets, and videos to help you get started.
Visit www.CornellMushrooms.org for factsheets and videos describing in detail how to grow and market forest mushrooms, and connect with other growers.
- Steve Gabriel. Extension Specialist, firstname.lastname@example.org
Globally, humans have tapped trees and enjoyed saps and syrups for centuries. While production in New York is heavily focused on maple Syrup production, new opportunities are growing for birch and walnut syrups and for sap beverages and other value-added products.
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, and extension research project information: cornellmaple.com
Ginseng is a high-value crop that can be grown in the right type of forest and ample patience on the part of the grower.
Learn how through the series of videos above, and the downloadable guides from former Cornell Extension Educator Bob “Mr Ginseng” Beyfuss.
- A Practical Guide to Growing Ginseng is a 25 page booklet that outlines all you need to know to get started.
- The Ginseng Visual Site Assessment helps landowners “score” their woods to see if its a good fit. Click the link for an online tool or DOWNLOAD PDF version.
- Getting Started Right for Successful Ginseng Production is a great article that outlines a process of trialing potential sites for production before committing.
Tracey Testo, Agroforestry Resource Center of Greene County, email@example.com
Silvopasture integrates livestock, trees, and forage and can be done in existing woodlots or by bringing trees into pasture settings. There are many variations and options for systems and the resources below offer some starting points.
- Silvopasturing in the Northeast is a publication by Peter Smallidge and Brett Chedzoy that outlines the basic principles and approaches to the practice of silvopasture.
- Photo Guide to Northeastern United States Silvopasture by Joe Orifice offers a nice array of examples from active farms demonstrating the wide range of possibilities for silvopasture systems.
- Silvopasture: How to Integrate Pastured Animals, Forage Crops, and Trees in a Temperate Farm Ecosystem is a new book by Steve Gabriel
Brett Chedzoy, Extension Forester Cooperative Extension Schuyler County, firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve Gabriel, Cornell Small Farms Program, email@example.com
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/bmp/contents/cce.html.
Peter Smallidge, State Extension Forester, firstname.lastname@example.org
Our Agroforestry Team
The Cornell Agroforestry PWT works to elevate the status of agroforestry and legitimize its application in New York by identifying current practices and creating resources to expand them.
CCE staff across the state are already engaged in this work but it is often extra-curricular. This PWT will identify funding and support to enable more dedicated staff time to agroforestry either through campus of by working collectively to identify and apply for grants.
Gabriel, Steve email@example.com Cornell Small Farms Program co-chair Testo, Tracey * firstname.lastname@example.org CCE Green County Agroforestry Center co-chair Bates, Jonathan email@example.com Food Forest Farm Bosco, Samantha firstname.lastname@example.org School of Integrated Plant Science Campbell-Nelson, Katie email@example.com Northeast SARE Chedzoy, Brett firstname.lastname@example.org CCE Schuyler County Clyne, Ailis email@example.com Arnot Research Forest Maple Technician Ferrare, Kristina firstname.lastname@example.org CCE Onondaga County Gasiewicz, Donald email@example.com CCE Wyoming County Helmholdt, Ashley Horticulture Section, SIPS MacFarland, Kate firstname.lastname@example.org National Agroforestry Center Savio, Graham email@example.com CCE Tompkins County Smallidge, Peter firstname.lastname@example.org Natural Resources Wightman, Aaron email@example.com Cornell Maple Program Wild, Adam firstname.lastname@example.org Cornell Maple Program Young, Connor email@example.com CCE Columbia-Greene
News and Updates
A changing climate is expected to change the seasonality of crops, largely affecting farmers’ production patterns and yearly cycles. This impact on crops also includes maple syrup production, according to…Read More
Steve is an Extension Specialist focused on specialty mushroom production and agroforestry. Throughout his career, Steve has taught thousands of people about the ways farming and forestry can be combined to both benefit the ecology and economies of small farms. He is also a farmer, author, hiker, and musician.
Read Articles by Steve Gabriel