Agroforestry is the intentional integration of trees and shrubs into traditional crop and livestock enterprises to achieve multiple benefits.  It is generally characterized using the four “I’s”:
  • Intentional – Planned and designed systems that work holistically 
  • Intensive – actively managed and maintained
  • Integrated – managing crops, livestock, trees, and shrubs as a system rather than individually 
  • Interactive – capitalizes on the complex interactions amongst elements of the systems  

Agroforestry practices are designed to fit specific niches within the farm to meet specific landowner objectives.  Five distinct practices are recognized under agroforestry:

1. Riparian/Upland Forest Buffers

2. Windbreaks/Shelterbelts/Living Snowfence
3. Alley Cropping
4. Silvopasture
5. Forest Farming

Agroforestry is an underutilized land management system that can substantially reduce wind and water erosion, sedimentation, nutrient pollution, while providing positive benefits for wildlife and carbon sequestration, not to mention the fruit, nuts, biomass, or other specialty products that many agroforestry practices produce.
To educate landowners, natural resource professionals, farmers, and the general public; Trees Forever and partners are targeting our work to some specific watersheds in 2020 providing an “Agroforestry Advantage” to those watersheds and landowners.  We will be providing outreach to natural resource professionals on agroforestry opportunities locally, conducting training and workshops on agroforestry options with various nut and berry crops, while also providing technical assistance and cost share opportunities to farmers.
For more information or deeper understanding reach out to our staff.
In Iowa, contact Jeff Jensen at 515-320-6756.
In Illinois, contact Debbie Fluegel at 309-613-0095.

Learn More


New to agroforestry?  Want to share with others?  This agroforestry tool kit provides the basics for teaching others about agroforestry; what it is, the practices that comprise it, the opportunities and benefits for landowners, and a few perennial crop options complete with case studies. 


Related Programs

Working Watersheds: Buffers & Beyond


Illinois Buffer Partnership