Agroforestry is the future of agriculture, say scientists

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Washington, June 28 (ANI): Scientists have said that agroforestry is the future of agriculture, as it can create greater economic value, enhance biodiversity, and improve soil, water and air quality on many sites.

Agroforestry is an integrated approach of using the interactive benefits from combining trees and shrubs with crops and/or livestock.

It combines agricultural and forestry technologies to create more diverse, productive, profitable, healthy and sustainable land-use systems.

From large-scale installations of riparian buffers to family-scale forest farming, agroforestry is a technology that has truly "come of age."

According to authors of the book "North American Agroforestry: An Integrated Science and Practice," published by the American Society of Agronomy, there is a willingness to adopt agroforestry practices more so than ever before.

Agroforestry provides many opportunities to meet the needs of landowners and natural resource professionals while keeping the family farm economically viable and the environment in which we live healthy.

"I am certain that millions of hectares of land and millions of people will benefit from the knowledge brought together in this book," said Marcus M. Alley, president of the American Society of Agronomy.

Readers of the 400-page, hardcover book will learn the fundamentals of the main agroforestry practices, with detailed case studies and examples, as well as strategies for addressing the financial viability of new practices, marketing, and navigating policy.

New topics in this edition include tree-crop interactions, product markets and marketing, and wildlife benefits. Each chapter includes a set of study questions.

The authors of the 13 chapters are recognized authorities in their fields, and their chapters represent the state-of-the-art on each topic.

Taken collectively, these writings clearly demonstrate that agroforestry has the potential to advance North America's land stewardship by converting degraded lands, protecting sensitive lands, and diversifying farm and forest production components and systems.

"When properly designed and integrated, agroforestry can protect crops and improve crop yields, shelter livestock, reduce animal stress while improving weight gain, and enhance resource stewardship and land conservation," said the book's editor, H.E. Garrett, Center for Agroforestry, the School of Natural Resources, University of Missouri-Columbia. (ANI)

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