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Agroforestry potential in the southeastern United States: perceptions of landowners and extension professionals

Abstract

The first steps in developing an agroforestry extension and training program involve compilation, synthesis, and analysis of current knowledge on existing practices. Equally important is to understand the perceptions of landowners and professionals of agroforestry as a land use option. No systematic effort has been made to assess these critical issues in the southeastern United States. Therefore, needs assessment surveys were developed following an analysis of major demographic issues that frame land use in the region and synthesis of information obtained from informal site visits and interviews with people engaged in resource and land use in the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plain. Surveys of extension professionals and landowners were then undertaken in the states of Alabama, Florida, and Georgia to represent the southeastern region. In addition to getting insights into the perceived benefits and concerns about agroforestry practices, the surveys indicated that the extent of alley cropping, forest farming and silvopasture practiced by landowners was less than anticipated, and that the prominence of windbreaks was overlooked by professionals. Managed riparian forest buffers or streamside management zones and windbreak technologies were the most widely used forms of agroforestry in the study area, although landowners did not recognize influence of agroforestry practices on quality or quantity of water among benefits of highest importance to them. Multistrata patio- or home gardens were also a prominent landowner-practice and acknowledged by professionals. These survey results can be useful for developing a relevant agroforestry extension and training program in the subtropical Southeast and may be of interest to agroforestry efforts in other similar settings.

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Correspondence to Sarah W. Workman.

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Workman, S.W., Bannister, M.E. & Nair, P. Agroforestry potential in the southeastern United States: perceptions of landowners and extension professionals. Agroforestry Systems 59, 73–83 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1026193204801

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1026193204801

  • Farmland management
  • Land use
  • Non-industrial forestry
  • Subtropical