Forest Farming – It’s Not Just for the Birds

What is forest farming?  It’s growing of edible, medicinal, or decorative specialty crops in the understory of woodland that are managed for both tree and crop production.  This can provide an additional revenue source of high value products while     providing natural resource benefits.  What native plants are growing in your forest currently?  What type of a forest system do you have?  Assessing current conditions and what is possible within your system is critical to planning and developing options that are suitable for your site. 

Some examples of non-timber products include:




Maple syrup


Medicinal plants

Decorative plants

Crafting plants

Direct marketing of these products generally see the highest return, check with your local restaurants, markets, natural food stores, and internet sales.

Contact your local conservation office to speak with a specialist that can help you determine what would grow best in your system as well as talking with you about developing a forest management plan which is a very valuable resource to understanding and managing  your woodlands.

How to Get a Forest Management Plan/Woodland Stewardship Plan

Your woodland contains a variety of plants and animals, soils, micro-sites and mapping them out with detailed descriptions allows for a strong base for developing agroforestry management opportunities.  If you own between 20 and 1,000 acres of land and at least 10 ac are wooded, you qualify for a plan.  You can stop by your local DNR forestry office to speak with a specialist

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