By Tom Driscoll, Director of Conservation Policy and NFU Foundation

As discussed previously in the Climate Column, trees sequester carbon that, if left in the atmosphere, would trap heat and contribute to climate change. Growing trees on farmland allows producers to store more carbon while simultaneously achieving other advantages for their farms’ productivity. The National Agroforestry Center (NAC) shares information on such practices, which can benefit crop growers and livestock producers alike. Silvopasture is one practice that allows folks engaged in grazing to enhance the climate resilience of their operations.

Silvopasture, as described by NAC, “combines trees with forage and livestock production.” Trees can be managed for timber, fruit or nut production, or ornamentation markets, such as Christmas trees. In addition to diversifying farm income, trees also provide shade. In many climates, shade can both improve forage growth and provide shelter for grazing animals, which in turn can decrease heat stress and increase yields.  Furthermore, trees incorporated through silvopasture can add value to an operation by augmenting wildlife habitat that supports biodiversity and its associated ecosystem services.

Are the benefits of silvopasture attractive for your farm? Would you consider planting trees on your pasture? Please share your thoughts in the comments section!


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