Agroforestry Education: The Status and Progress of Agroforestry Courses in the U.S.
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Many agroforestry leaders today believe that an increase in agroforestry coursework, certifications, and institutional degree programs would help agroforestry professionals gain the proper education and training needed to better promote agroforestry implementation (Gold, 2015; USDA, 2011). In 1990, thirty-nine SAF forestry accredited institutions were surveyed throughout North America. The survey revealed that at least fourteen schools were offering a course in agroforestry (Warren & Bentley, 1990). In order to determine the current status of agroforestry course offerings today, we sent an electronic survey to one hundred and twenty seven institutions throughout the U.S. Focusing on land-grant and SAF forestry accredited institutions, the survey findings indicate growth in the number of institutions that are offering agroforestry coursework today. In addition, the number of temperate agroforestry course offerings has increased significantly and may now exceed tropical agroforestry course offerings by institutions in the U.S. The survey results also indicate a thorough adoption of interdisciplinary teaching methods by agroforestry educators. Nonetheless, there is still considerable room for improvement. While most institutions that are currently providing agroforestry courses would like to continue offering them, the number of institutions that have discontinued their offerings since the prior 1988 survey is concerning. In addition, while SAF and 1862 land grant institutions are the strongest proponents of agroforestry, most institutions still do not provide agroforestry courses and are not likely to offer them in the near future. Lack of resources, lack of student interest, and lack of faculty expertise were often cited to this end. A much needed contribution to agroforestry education, this project provides a clearer picture of institutional agroforestry offerings today.