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Agroforestry & Silvopasture Basics

Part of "Pastures & Forests"


Agroforestry is a group of agricultural practices that uses trees combined with crops and/or animals in ways that create benefits from their interactions. 


Agroforestry includes food forests, shade cropping, trees as windbreaks, growing timber trees together with livestock, growing trees for coastal protection, and many other practices. All of these agricultural systems can increase productivity and improve soil health compared with conventional practices such as row cropping.


Agroforestry systems as a whole also tend to have less pest and disease problems, provide natural weed control, and require less external inputs compared with conventional agriculture. They also provide long-term benefits for the watershed.

Silvopasture is one form of agroforestry that combines trees with forage and livestock production. The trees in a silvopasture system are typically managed for timber and, at the same time, provide shade and shelter for livestock and forage. The partial shade created throughout a silvopasture can reduce stress on the animals, and in some cases, it can increase forage production and quality.

Start this Course segment Agroforestry & Silvopasture Basics with a video on the benefits of agroforestry then work your way through the other Useful Links of this Course segment.

> Back to Course 7: Pastures & Forests

Useful Links:

A short video that shows the many benefits of growing trees as part of your project.

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Getting Started with Food-Producing Agroforestry

Comprehensive publication on Polynesian agroforestry, including advice on plant selection and examples from across Polynesia.

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6 Key Principles for Starting a Silvopasture

From Cornell University's small farm program, a short list of principles to help you start a successful silvopasture.

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Grower's Guide to Pacific Agroforestry Systems

An excellent summary on the many techniques of agroforestry in the Pacific islands.

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How to establish and maintain a self-sustaining agroforest that supports the needs of small-scale livestock on the Pacific Islands. A wealth of research and examples.

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Explore this extensive interactive database of trees in Hawai‘i. Each has its own factsheet and growing habits.

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