As tree planting programs gain international interest, financial support, and bipartisan political traction in the United States, many policymakers and scientists have proposed that tree planting projects be established alongside new or existing agricultural systems. WRI reports 15 billion trees could be planted on agricultural lands through silvopastoral systems and cropland agroforestry production in the United States. Yet, there are major research gaps about how such projects would be implemented while supporting agricultural yield and maximizing carbon sequestration and storage.
Currently, the feasibility of tree planting initiatives is the subject of academic and political debate. However, even though the responsibility to implement agroforestry systems would fall to agricultural practitioners, their perspectives and expertise are missing from the national conversation. If international programs, such as the Trillion Trees Initiative or COVID-19 economic stimulus packages specific to tree planting/climate resilience, are to be successful, the myriad of barriers to adoption needs to be explored in various regions in the United States.
Our project seeks to bolster natural climate solutions policy that promotes agroforestry integration with the perspectives and insight of practitioners across the Northeast region of the United States. Our research will explore the relationship between large-scale tree planting initiatives and agroforestry, the gaps between policymakers and practitioners, and the types of policies that would be necessary to ensure the successful integration of tree planting at scale in the Northeast.