Agroforestry

Project Lead: Steve Gabriel, Tracey Testo

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“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

 

SIGN UP HERE FOR WEBINAR LINK:

https://forms.gle/nV3jjxpUorC86Bm98

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.

ACCESS THE FULL REPORT HERE: https://www.aftaweb.org/138-2018-vol-24/volume-24-no-2-august-2018/238-title-assessing-agroforestry-s-role-in-mitigating-and-adapting-to-climate-change.html

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

https://www.fs.usda.gov/nac/assets/documents/agroforestrynotes/an44g14.pdf

Some Ecological Aspects of Northeastern American Indian Agroforestry Practices

http://www.daviesand.com/Papers/Tree_Crops/Indian_Agroforestry/

Woodland Mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms grow on a log

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.

 

Key Contacts:

Maple Syrup

CLICK to visit the Cornell Maple Program YouTube channel

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

Website

https://blogs.cornell.edu/cornellmaple

Key Contacts:

American Ginseng

An established patch of intensive woods cultivated 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

3.24_angussilvopasture

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

Nut Production

 Hybrid hazel trees with jumbo grade sized nuts are successfully grown without pesticides or fungicides in USDA zones 4b/5a, in the Finger Lakes region of New York.

 

Resources:

 

Key Contacts:

Sam Bosco, PhD student

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

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.

 

Project Partners

News and Updates

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

Maple and Birch Tapping Research Responds to Variable Climate

By Kacey Deamer | December 12, 2018

The Northern New York Agricultural Development Program has posted a research update with data to help maple and birch syrup producers respond to variable climate conditions. “Maple, and now birch,…

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Edible Weeds from Farm to Market: Farmer Survey Responses Needed

By Kelsie Raucher | December 10, 2018

Edible Weeds from Farm to Market is a Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) funded project of CCE Columbia and Greene Counties Agroforestry Research Center. The project is researching the…

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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

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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: