An Agroforestry Practice
Courtesy of University of Minnesota Extention
Service, Copyright 2000.
What is ?
Agroforestry is a crop-based
farming system characterized by the
complete integration of trees
with annual crops and/or livestock. (Beets)
Click here to view illustrations of various agroforestry
What is alley cropping?
Links to related
is alley cropping?
cropping or hedgerow intercropping is an agroforestry practice
in which perennial, preferably leguminous trees or shrubs are
grown simultaneously with an arable crop. The trees, managed
as hedgerows, are grown in wide rows and the crop is planted
in the interspace or 'alley' between the tree rows. During the
cropping phase the trees are pruned and the prunings used as
green manure or mulch on the crop to improve the organic matter
status of the soil and to provide nutrients, particularly nitrogen,
to the crop. Alley cropping retains the basic restorative attributes
of the bush fallow system, allowing the farmer to crop the land
for an extended period. (Kang
a photo of alleycropping with Leucaena
in Kenya click here.
For a photo
example of intercropping in France click
the West, there is a problem of overproduction and conspicuous
consumption. In the developing countries, the problem is insufficient
production resulting in food shortages, poverty and hunger...
there is a need to grow more food and make it available to the
masses... this can best be done by raising the productivity of
the numerous smallholdings". (Beets)
practice alley cropping?
products such as forage and firewood provides an extra source
of income for the farmer. This kind of diversification
makes the agroforestry practice of alley cropping more
economically sustainable over the long-term.
crop performance, increase productivity.
soil productivity comes from the addition of nutrients and organic
matter in the form of mulch. Lower soil temperatures result in
less evaporation and improved soil structure and water use. Crop
production benefits from improved soil conditions.
the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
Improvements in nutrient flow and erosion
reduction, in addition to better weed control, lessen the need
for chemical enhancements and combattants.
overall sustainability (environmental and economic).
integrated approach to crop production (e.g., ameliorated soil,
product diversification, and a physical environment which is
better utilized by a larger number of wildlife species) increases
both short and long-term sustainability.
does it work?
design of any particular alley cropping system must consider
and distribution of annual rainfall. Compatibility
between shrub and tree species and crop types. Spacing
between rows. Light requirements of selected
crops. Direction of sun. Maintenance
considerations and available resources.
Cropping: Sarah H. Chen and Erik C.M. Fernandes
- Intercropping and Alley Cropping
Farming in Australia
Cropping in the Tropics
- Your Resource for Tropical Forestry and Agroforestry
National Agroforestry Center
of Minnesota Extension: Agroforestry Opportunities
Centre for Research in Agroforestry
of Missouri Center for Agroforestry
The purpose of this website is to provide
an introduction to the concept and practice of agroforestry,
alley cropping specifically, and to act as a gateway to more
information. Feedback is appreciated.
Created on April 18, 2002 by:
Adrienne M. Blauser
Masters International Candidate, Forestry
Michigan Tech University
In fulfillment of a course assignment
Dr. Blair Orr
Trees in Agricultural