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April No. 2

Writing About Agroforestry: A Personal Perspective

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In my ten years as Editor of The Temperate Agroforester, I've spent a lot of time thinking and writing about what motivates people to adopt agroforestry practices. These "case studies" usually reveal a mix of factors, ranging from economic to environmental to aesthetic, that overlap in a business and personal decision-making process. The list of reasons are as diverse and unique as the individuals who are motivated to act, and their stories reveal the entrepreneurial spirit of innovative landowners willing to try something new.

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Contractor Provides Turn-key Service for Conservation Plantings

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John Hair, 42, and his brother Jason, 35, started NRS after working with the Conservation Reserve Program o­n their family's wheat farm near Prescott, Wash. "We had to transplant 280,000 shrubs," Jason Hair said. "We geared up to do our own project, and then the neighbors asked us to do it, and then the neighbors' neighbors."

Eight years later, they've worked for 200 clients in 13 counties in the two states. The NRS crews have planted more than 3 million shrubs and trees and have seeded native grasses in almost 60,000 acres. NRS installations dot the landscape from Columbia County, Wash., to Morrow and Sherman counties in Oregon.

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Alley Cropping Could Help Canada Meet Kyoto Protocol Commitments

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Tree-based intercropping systems, where agricultural crops are grown in rotation between widely-spaced rows of trees, have the potential to reduce N2O emissions and enhance carbon (C) sequestration in agricultural fields. To date, no research has addressed or documented this aspect of agroforestry in Canada.

In the recent past, many studies have identified tree-based land-use practices as a significant global opportunity to reduce the accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere (e.g. Schroeder, 1993; Nair, 1993; Dixon, 1995; Young, 1997). The United Nations has also estimated that agroforestry based land-use practices o­n marginal or degraded lands could sequester 0.82-2.2 Pg C per year (Pg = 1015g) globally, over a 50-year time frame (Dixon et al., 1994).

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Early Results Reported for Mississippi Alley Cropping Trial

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The J.L. Whitten Plant Materials Center (Coffeeville, MS), with cooperation from the National Agroforestry Center and NRCS Foresters, installed an alley cropping (Conservation Practice 311) demonstration planting in 2002. We were interested in the economic feasibility of planting high-value trees o­n sloping topography with no-till crops grown in the alleyways between the trees.

An approximately 5 acre field o­n a hillside with Loring silt loam soil (up to an 8% slope) was chosen as the study site. Site preparation began in the fall of 2001 when 4 qt/ac of Roundup and 3 ton/ac of lime were applied.

Bareroot seedlings were planted in January2002 in single rows along the general contour of the field perpendicular to the dominant slope o­n angles convenient for farming using CORE4 recommendations. Trees species were pecan (Carya illinoinensis),which can provide income from both nuts and timber, and green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica), which is a fairly fast-growing timber species.

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Program Highlights Announced for 2005 Agroforestry Conference

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The organizers of this year's North American Agroforestry Conference have announced the preliminary program, which will include many papers and events of interest to agroforestry educators, researchers and practitioners. Two full days of plenary and concurrent sessions are planned, bracketed by both pre- and post-conference tours. CINRAM at the University of Minnesota is the principal organizer of the conference, co-sponsored with AFTA and the Southwest Badger RC&D.

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