At Keyline Vermont we work to bridge current agricultural boundaries and explore the potential for more diverse, productive agricultural systems.  Therefore we offer the design and installation of agroforestry systems that complement working farmsteads and home sites, multi-functional shelterbelts and windbreaks to protect valuable plantings, and traditional coppice forestry systems for long term sustainable production of fuel wood, rot resistant pole wood, and craft use.


As the term suggests, agroforestry is the coupling of agriculture and forestry in a complementary way.  Though the individual yield of each system is generally less than that of a solitary field crop or forestry operation, the combined yields of an agroforestry system are largely enhanced.  Agroforestry draws on the individual strengths of agriculture and forestry to create a more robust, resilient system.


It was in the early 1950s that the potential for developing high-yielding tree crop systems was espoused by J. Russell Smith in his book, Tree Crops: A Permanent Agriculture.  Smith's efforts laid the groundwork for the development of agroforestry, best known in the form of alley cropping - the practice of planting widely spaced rows of tree crops (fruits, nuts, legumes or timber) within livestock pastures, hayfields or other annual cropping systems.  These systems 'stack' yields temporally, enabling growers to continue to harvest their annual or perennial crops, while getting the additional harvest of either fruits or nuts as well as soil conditioning or, in a more long term system, timber.  Additionally, the fodder from tree crops can be utilized as an additional source of livestock feed, providing copious quantities of seasonal feed once mature and also giving animals access to a more diverse diet.  

Agroforestry systems couple beautifully with Keyline design, as their layout and management can be planned to follow Keyline geography.

Agroforestry Systems

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