Agroforestry in the Temperate Landscape: Precedent, Practice, and Design Proposal
Darr, Alexander Norton
MetadataShow full item record
ACADEMIC ABSTRACT Temperate agroforestry systems are an important area of research and practice in Eastern North America with the goal of creating more diverse, productive, and environmentally sound agricultural landscapes by using trees as key crops. There is extensive published research on contemporary temperate agroforestry models as well as tropical indigenous agroforestry systems, but publicly accessible properties that demonstrate these practices are currently limited. These practices, which include: Alley Cropping, Multi-functional Riparian Buffers, Short-rotation coppice, Non-timber forest farming, and novel crop breeding have potential to radically reshape American agricultural practices. As sediment and erosion control becomes stricter in agricultural land, and if future carbon tax or pricing legislation comes into play, non-tillage based agricultural practices will become more prevalent throughout the United States and the rest of the world. In the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, where this project is based, orchards are a common perennial cropping system, but at present the industry is reliant on chemical inputs that have an economic and ecological cost associated with them. Developing, demonstrating, and popularizing systems that incorporate native, crop-bearing perennials, in a manner that is legible, aesthetically pleasing, and well-integrated into the surrounding topography and agricultural vernacular, this thesis will offer a proof-of-concept to landowners curious about incorporating low-input agroforestry practices. This thesis presents a series of unpublished manuscripts based on research of historical agroforestry practices in temperate North America. These manuscripts focus on agroforestry practices as they were practiced over nearly 500 years of American history. These findings culminate in the proposition of a design for an agroforestry research and demonstration farm in the Mid-Atlantic United States. The goal of this design is to recontextualize a historic dairy farm in Maryland, USA with the construction of a new education, production, and design center. This center, along with its associated infrastructure, the cropping layout, and an interpretive trail through a range of agroforestry systems proposes an immersive environment that allows a visitor to experience agroforestry at its many scales, from garden to wild-land.
- Masters Theses