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The Center for Agroforestry

UMCA Research Clusters

Agroforestry Research Clusters: Science in a Systems Context

Since 2003, UMCA has been supported by and managed three significant USDA - ARS programs, representing more than 100 individual projects. The Center seeks to develop the scientific basis for designing and prescribing agroforestry practices within a "systems context," which allows technology to be used most effectively. To achieve this goal, our research efforts have been organized into eleven research "clusters" to enhance creativity and productivity among a range of investigators from many disciplines. UMCA research continues to serve as a catalyst for stimulating the development of agroforestry throughout the United States.

Clusters:

Nut tree cluster research: Features research on pecan, black walnut and chestnut, including field studies, market research and outreach. UMCA supports the nation's most comprehensive research programs for developing the eastern black walnut and Chinese chestnut as nut crops for agroforestry practices.

Chestnut Projects

  • Chinese Chestnut Cultivar Performance in Missouri
  • Comparison of Seedling Understocks in Relation to Delayed Graft Incompatibility of 'Qing' Chinese Chestnut
  • Graft Union Failure and Incompatibility of Chinese Chestnut
  • Effects of Pruning on Nut Yield and Quality in Chinese Chestnut
  • Thinning Secondary Burs of Chinese Chestnut Trees to Enhance Nut Yield
  • Little Giant and Other Chestnut Cultivars as a Source of Genetic Dwarfing for Chinese Chestnut Trees
  • Time of Nitrogen Application Affects Vegetative Growth of Chinese Chestnut
  • Chestnut Weevil Ecology Project

Black Walnut Projects

  • Black Walnut Fruit and Kernel Growth and Development
  • Sensory and Flavor Characteristics of Black Walnut Kernels
  • Rest Completion and Bud Break of 20 Eastern Black Walnut Cultivars
  • Dwarfing Rootstocks for Inducing Precocity and Intensive Black Walnut Production
  • Influence of Zinc Foliar Sprays on Black Walnut Production
  • Black Walnut Applied Breeding Program

Pecan

  • Cultivar Evaluation and Phenological Development over Two Locations For Northern Pecan
  • Assessing Genetic Variability of Carya and Cultivar Evaluation and Phenological Development over Two Locations for Northern Pecan.

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Water quality and riparian forest buffer cluster. Focus is to quantify fate and environmental benefits of woody/grass buffers on nonpoint source pollutants. Includes paired watershed study, animal bioremediation study and all work on upland and/or riparian forest buffers.

Projects

  • A Paired Watershed Study to Assess Influences of Agroforestry and Grass Buffers on Non-point Source Pollution Reduction, Soil Properties, Green House Gases, Carbon Sequestration, Microbial Diversity, and Microclimate
    • Agroforestry and grass buffer effects on non-point source pollution reduction: a paired watershed approach.
    • Agroforestry and grass buffer effects on reduction of leaching and subsurface losses of nutrients and agrochemicals.
    • Below-ground competition, interaction, growth dynamics, and below-ground biomass accumulation and carbon sequestration in an agroforestry alley cropping practice.
    • Evaluation of agroforestry and grass buffer effects on soil aggregate stability, soil physical properties, microbial diversity, and soil enzyme activity.
    • Characterize spatial and temporal variation in soil moisture and temperature in agroforestry, grass buffer, and crop areas.
    • Characterize spatial and temporal variation in solar radiation, relative humidity, and wind speed and direction as influenced by agroforestry and contour grass buffer practices.
    • Above-ground growth and root architecture of trees in an agroforestry alley cropping practice.
    • Microbial diversity in agroforestry, contour grass buffer, and row-cropping ecosystems.
    • Effects of agroforestry and grass buffer strips and landscape position on differences in soil carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • HARC Grazed Pasture Watershed Projects
    • Agroforestry buffers in Association with Grazing Systems for Reducing Water, Sediment, and Nutrient Runoff.
    • Veterinary Antibiotic Transport through Agroforestry Buffer and Pasture Soils
    • Evaluation of agroforestry and grass buffer effects on soil aggregate stability, soil hydraulic properties, microbial diversity, and soil enzyme activity.
  • Bioremediation of Herbicides and Veterinary Antibiotics in Grass and Agroforestry Buffers Projects
  • Effectiveness of Riparian Forest Buffers in Headwater Watersheds of the Western Corn Belt Ecoregion in Regulating Non-point Source Pollution

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Flood tolerance cluster. Focus is to use flood tolerance research facility to study the effects of short- and long-term flooding on woody and non woody plants. Results link directly to ongoing EPA funded "green infrastructure" project in Kansas City with the Mid-America Regional Council and National Agroforestry Center. Green infrastructure requires species adapted to stormwater flood conditions.

Projects

  • Flood Tolerance Screening of Herbaceous Species for Use in Floodplains
    • Identify potential flood-tolerant herbaceous forage species for use in mid-western agroforestry buffers, floodplains, and for use in urban "green infrastructure" plantings.
    • Screen and identify soybeans with greater tolerance to soil waterlogging by measuring yield losses under flooded and non flooded conditions among group III and IV soybean lines and germplasm lines selected from more humid regions of China, Japan or Korea.
  • Within and among species variation in flood tolerance for oak species found along a hydrological gradient and produced using multiple propagation methods
  • Changes in Soil Chemical and Biological Properties with Flooding and its Effects on Growth of Agroforestry Species

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Socio-economic-marketing cluster. This cluster's purpose is to facilitate adoption of new agroforestry practices. This requires understanding the decision maker's social, economic, and institutional conditions as well as networks and markets they relate to. The lessons of this cluster aim to inform the technology transfer process.

Projects

  • Social, economic, market, institutional and policy factors affecting adoption and diffusion of agroforestry practices
    • Individual attitudes, knowledge, incentives (policies), socio-economic-resource characteristics (social economic cultural and natural capitals) affecting adoption by landowners and farm operators
    • Economic assessment of agroforestry
    • Role of institutions (private sector and public sector) in constraining and facilitating agroforestry
    • Knowledge of markets (consumer and producer) for new products and their returns for traditional and nontraditional Midwestern agroforestry products
    • Role of networks in facilitating access to information, technologies, and markets

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Fast growing hardwoods biomass research cluster. Focus is to quantify growth of Populus clones, and other species, for biomass production, flood tolerance and levee protection.

Projects

  • Assessing short-rotation tree species for potential biofuel production.
    • Role of Agroforestry practices in carbon sequestration and biofuel production.

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Forest bottomland and wildlife restoration and biodiversity research cluster. Bottomland hardwood restoration and management studies. Quantifying effects of bottomland agroforestry practices on wildlife species.

Projects

  • Enhancing Mourning Dove Harvest Opportunities in an Agroforestry Ecosystem
  • Nest success of migrant forest birds in plantation and native forests of the Mississippi alluvial valley of southeastern Missouri
  • Enhancing wildlife habitat by increasing native plant diversity within quail cover bundle plantings
  • Evaluating methods for establishing trees in floodplain agroforestry practices

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Silvopasture cluster.

Projects

  • Integrating silvopastures into current forage-livestock systems
  • Use of silvopastoral practices to demonstrate visual and wind sheltering around animal production facilities and to demonstrate implementation into existing pastures
  • Integrate silvopastoral practices into unimproved, standing timber
  • Effects of the silvopasture practice on survival and growth of underplanted white oak
  • Pine Restoration and Silvopasture Enterprise Evaluations on an Ozark Southern Aspect

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Horticulture research cluster. Ongoing studies with gourmet mushrooms, medicinals, pine straw, woody and non-woody florals.

Projects

  • Improving the Utility of the Missouri Gravel Bed as Method to Facilitate Establishment of Trees and Shrubs in Agroforestry Plantings
    • To compare the effects of amending a gravel growth medium with calcined clay on plant growth with those of amending with non-calcined, locally available clay materials
    • To evaluate the potential of the Missouri Gravel Bed as a tool to promote colonization of oak roots by mycorrhizal fungi; 3) Raise awareness of pine straw by consumers and retail nurseries in Missouri.
  • Specialty Mushroom Production to Augment Buffer Values
  • Screening and testing phytochemicals for development of potential entrepreneurial opportunities
  • Developing Agroforestry, and Associated Nut, Fruit, and Herb Production for Midwestern Farmers

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Tree/Crop interactions cluster. The Tree/Crop Interactions Cluster comprises three research projects that study these complex interactions, which are inherent to agroforestry. The research described in these projects will provide information that can be directly applied to mid-western family farms.

Projects

  • Interactions Between Trees and Crop Plants in Agroforestry Systems
    • Determine the size of vegetation-free zone that results in the optimum growth of black walnut in a tall fescue silvopasture practice
    • Determine why tall fescue appears to have such a negative affect on tree growth and develop management practices to improve tree growth in fescue pastures. Factors evaluated are forage dry matter production, water and nutrient competition, and if the endophyte in tall fescue may be have an affect
    • Determine the type of planting stock (seeded nuts, bareroot seedlings, or containerized stock) and the effect of applying mycorrhizal inoculum when establishing black walnut in tall fescue pastures
    • Evaluate the feasibility of turf-type tall fescue seed production grown as an alley crop in a mixed hardwood tree plantation
    • Determine if cottonwood tree row orientation affects forage production and growth of reed canarygrass and white clover on a site subject to periodic flooding.
    • Evaluate the establishment of selected native legume species with native warm-season grasses and determine their effects on tree establishment, foliage N, and growth
  • Renovating the Shade Tolerance Laboratory (STL) to Evaluate Shade Tolerance of Warm and Cool Season Forages for Use in Agroforestry.
    • Test additional design improvements for the Shade Tolerance Laboratory at HARC.
    • Compare phenology, forage biomass production, and forage quality of native and introduced warm and cool season forages within the Shade Tolerance Laboratory.
    • Evaluate shade tolerance of native and introduced forage species under tree canopies and compare to results from Shade Tolerance Laboratory
  • Biodiversity, Pesticide Reduction, and Crop Management in Forage and Oil Seed Crops Alley Cropped with Black Walnut

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Technology transfer cluster.The technology transfer program is focusing in four diverse areas of Missouri centered on four outlying research properties with ongoing agroforestry research, building out from this research base to connect to landowners from these core areas. Landowner demonstrations are being pursued to provide on-the-ground examples of agroforestry practices relevant to each region. Each of the four areas represents different agroecological conditions and dominant land use practices. Socio-economic research is being developed to overlay on top of and mesh closely with tech transfer activities.

  • Wurdack Farm - Silvopasture, Alley Cropping, and Riparian Buffers.
  • HARC Farm - Silvopasture, Alley Cropping, Riparian Buffers, Forest Farming, Windbreaks
  • Greenley Farm - Alley Cropping, Upland Buffers
  • SW Center - Silvopasture, Alley Cropping, Riparian Forest Buffers, Forest Farming, Windbreaks

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Revised: November 19 2010
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