, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 303-321

An assessment of agroforestry systems in the southern USA

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Abstract

An assessment of the southern USA, based on a survey of land-use professionals and a review of the literature, revealed that it is a diverse region with substantial potential for agroforestry to address a combination of problems and opportunities. The survey indicated that silvopastoral systems are the most common form of agroforestry in the region. Increased economic returns, diversification, and enhancement of the timing of cash flows were the most frequently mentioned benefits associated with the establishment of silvopastoral systems. Some of the problems associated with alley-cropping systems — less frequently observed than silvopastoral systems — were lower-than-expected productivity or profitability, damage to trees when cultivating the crop component, and labor/management skill constraints. Based on the findings of the literature review and the survey, special opportunities for implementing agroforestry systems in the region were identified, including the following: to improve marginal lands; to serve as windbreaks and buffer strips for improved water quality and wildlife habitat; to enhance the economics of selected natural pine, hardwood plantation, and pine plantation systems; and to provide specialty products on small landownerships.