DEFINITION of 'Agroforestry'

The integration of agriculture and/or farming with forestry so the land can simultaneously be used for more than one purpose. This practice is meant to have both environmental and financial benefits. The presence of trees can provide benefits such as sheltering livestock from the elements and improving the soil so that crops will be more productive. The agroforestry system can also provide a more even income for landowners since all of their income is not tied to a few crops or a single season. Agroforestry can also make it easier for farmers to transition from one type of crop to another as market demand for their products changes.

BREAKING DOWN 'Agroforestry'

Agroforestry does require more planning and know-how than simpler land uses because the system must take into consideration the diverse and sometimes contradictory needs of each component (the grazing needs of cattle versus a tree's need to have its roots undisturbed, for example). Examples of types of agroforestry practiced in the United States include alleycropping, silvopasture, windbreaks, riparian buffer strips and forest farming.

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