Trees on Organic Farms

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Master of Natural Resources Professional Papers (North Carolina State University. College of Natural Resources)

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North Carolina State University. College of Natural Resources


Mirrett, Erin. Master of Natural Resources – Forest Economics and Management Technical Option. Trees on Organic Farms According to the literature, tree management practices can contribute not only to the increased diversity and stability of a farm’s ecology, but also to the enhancement of the farm’s financial well being both directly and indirectly (Burley, 1987; Nair, 1993). The more farmers know about incorporating trees into their farmscapes, the more likely the farmers are to have a better understanding of all the benefits incurred from such practices. Although trees are commonly found on farms, they are not commonly integrated into the farming system in the United States (Lassoie & Buck, 2000). The purpose of this study is to determine whether or not organic farmers perceive or gain all the potential benefits of trees in their farmscapes. Data were collected via a nationwide survey of organic farmers. Specifically, the survey elicited information on the current use, knowledge base and attitudes among organic farmers in the United States regarding tree components on their farms. This survey also tested the assumption that all organic farms have at least one tree component on their property. Results of the survey of 51 respondents suggest that: (1) these farmers perceive more benefits than drawbacks from tree components on their farms, (2) all farmers have at least one tree component on their land, (3) aesthetics is listed most often as a benefit, (4) natural tree corridors and orchards are the most commonly found tree components, and (5) agroforestry, managed and unmanaged plantations are least common. Finally, farmers reported a strong interest in keeping trees on organic farms although they indicated a need to be better informed about agroforestry principles and guidelines for implementation and management of trees on their farms.



Organic Farm, Agroforestry