Important Note

Tufts ended funding for its Open Courseware initiative in 2014. We are now planning to retire this site on June 30, 2018. Content will be available for Tufts contributors after that date. If you have any questions about this please write to

Tufts OpenCourseware
Authors: Kathleen Merrigan, Ph.D., William Lockeretz, Ph.D.


Temperate Agroforestry Systems. Agroforestry in North America and its role in farming systems. P.A. Williams et al. (1997).

Key Questions


  • What are some of the key features of the traditional agroecosystems that existed before the European settlers arrived? Do they share anything in common with the present day agroforestry systems?
  • Why are farm woodlots called 'cash reserves'?
  • What are the reasons for reduction in farms maintaining woodlots?
  • What are the advantages of agroforestry systems?
  • What are the forces driving agroforestry?
  • What are the advantages of intercropping in the initial years of orchard establishment?
  • What is an ecological trap?
  • What are the advantages of windbreaks?
  • What is the relationship between the height of the windbreaks and wind speed reduction?
  • What characteristics of a windbreak system influence reduction in wind speed?
  • What factors are to be considered when choosing crops for an alley cropping system?