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January No. 1

A Global Agroforestry Education Network

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Background

As the frontiers of agroforestry science advance, it is becoming increasingly necessary attractive to a wide variety of disciplines to incorporate it into their teaching and learning programmes. Agroforestry is seen as an effective land use system that can enhance productivity, improve livelihoods and provide environmental services. Thus, the social, economic and ecological considerations are being considered. This broadens the understanding of land use and agriculture as a whole, and contextualizes it in human development. For instance, Temu and Garrity (2003) observed that the introduction of agroforestry into educational programs has at times served as a platform for the entry of biodiversity and conservation education into agriculture. Agroforestry brings together knowledge from many disciplines, and this has both benefits and challenges. The integration benefits the breadth of knowledge but also raises some questions o­n whether agroforestry can be identified discipline of its own.

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Measuring and Optimizing Polyculture Yields

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Introduction

Most conventional farmers, foresters and landowners are used to growing monocultures of a single crop at a time, measuring the yields from them and managing them accordingly. When confronted with intercropping systems, under planted orchards or forest gardens, the diversity is often beyond their experience and understanding. This article aims to explain a way of measuring and optimizing yields from agronomic systems using several crops growing together.

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A World Beneath the Tree - Non-Timber Forest Resources

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Forest dependent communities around the world are seeking alternatives to conventional sources of income, employment and investment. Communities that have depended o­n forests for timber, fishing, mining or traditional agriculture need other economic options while maintaining forest health. Non-timber forest products, or NTFPs, which are plants, parts of plants, fungi, and other biological material that are harvested from within and o­n the edges of natural, manipulated or disturbed forests, may provide viable options for forest-based communities.

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More in the National Forests than Trees: A Glimpse at the Forest Service's Nontimber Forest Products Program

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In 2003, researchers from the Institute for Culture and Ecology (IFCAE) surveyed national forests across the country to identify barriers and opportunities to nontimber forest product (NTFP) management. What follows is a sample from the full report entitled:  

McLain, R.J., Jones, E.T. 200X. Nontimber forest products management o­n national forests in the United States. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-655. Portland, OR. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 85 p.

The report is available free of charge from the U.S. Forest Service at www.fs.fed.us/pnw/publications/index.shtml or by calling 503-808-2130.

The survey indicates that NTFP harvesting takes place o­n national forests in all parts of the United States.   Firewood, posts and poles, Christmas trees, transplants, and boughs form the backbone of many NTFP programs (Figure 1). However, a variety of other botanical products, including mushrooms, floral greens, cones, and medicinal plants are also harvested o­n national forests.

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