Mapping the territory: agroforestry awareness among Washington State land managers
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There is growing interest in research to develop potential agroforestry models for temperate climates. In Washington State, recent studies and anecdotal information suggest that agroforestry is already employed by land managers, and if so, this experience should inform future research efforts. Because this population is not well defined, a mail survey was designed to: 1) Assess Washington land manager awareness of agroforestry, 2) assess perceptions of agroforestry as a land management tool, 3) assess the perceived potential opportunities or obstacles for land managers to practice agroforestry, and 4) identify landowner groups believed to be practicing agroforestry in Washington State.
Three groups of land managers were surveyed: employees of the Soil Conservation Service (SCS), Washington State University Cooperative Extension Service (WSUCE) and OTHER, consisting of university faculty, private land managers, State and Federal land managers and owners of small natural resource businesses.
Agroforestry was not a new concept for most (94%) respondents, further 55% of those familiar with agroforestry were practicing agroforestry or providing advice to landowners who were practicing agroforestry. ‘Use in (government mandated) soil conservation plans’ on farmland (100% of all respondents) was the most frequently cited potential application for agroforestry in the state followed by ‘range and pasture land’ and ‘managing non-commercial forest land’ (both 84%), use on ‘commercial forest plantation’ (83%) and ‘fruit and nut orchards’ (61%).
‘Diversifies land use’ (25%), ‘enhanced productivity’ (18%), ‘aesthetics’ (13%) and ‘income diversity’ (13%) were the four most frequently cited potential advantages to practicing agroforestry. ‘Lack of information’ (28%), ‘lack of technical assistance’ (18%), ‘establishment costs’ (14%) and ‘not an established practice’ (14%) were the most frequently identified potential obstacles to practicing agroforestry. Respondents suggested there is great potential for application of agroforestry throughout the state, and non-industrial private forest land owners were selected for future study of this potential.
Key wordsNorth America Pacific Northwest agroforestry practices survey methodology
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