Cornell CALS - College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Agroforestry

Project Lead: Steve Gabriel, Tracey Testo

Home » Projects » Agroforestry

“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.

Agroforestry happens across New York State!

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.

Woodland Mushrooms

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.

Tree Saps & Syrups

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

Key Contacts:

American Ginseng

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.

Resources:

Key Contacts:

Tracey Testo, Agroforestry Resource Center of Greene County, tet35@cornell.edu

Silvopasture

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.

Resources:

Key Contacts:

Brett Chedzoy, Extension Forester Cooperative Extension Schuyler County, bjc226@cornell.edu

Steve Gabriel, Cornell Small Farms Program, sfg53@cornell.edu

Forestry

silvopasture

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.

Key Contacts:

Peter Smallidge, State Extension Forester, pjs23@cornell.edu

Our Agroforestry Team

Project Partners

News and Updates

Study Measures Maple Syrup Production in a Changing Climate

By Anna Birn | October 8, 2019

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

Managing Woodlands to Improve Wildlife Habitat

By Peter Smallidge | October 7, 2019

Manipulations of the trees can create new and varied habitats for wildlife. Most landowners own their land for a variety of reasons, though at any point in time one objective…

Read More

Specialty Mushroom Project Expands to Serve Diverse Urban and Rural Growers

By Steve Gabriel | October 7, 2019

Interest in specialty mushrooms (defined as any non-button variety) from both farmers and consumers is growing rapidly, with demand increasing by 4% annually in the U.S. Given the flexible scale…

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

agroforestry - logo

Cornell Agroforestry - Subscribe for Updates and Opportunities

This list-serve provides information and resources to connect small and mid-sized farmers to larger markets such as food hubs, grocery stores, restaurants, online marketplaces and cooperatives. Farmers, educators and prospective buyers are all welcome: