U.S. Department of Agriculture: Forest Service -- National Agroforestry Center



Date of this Version

April 2006


Published by USDA National Agroforestry Center (NAC), East Campus – UNL, Lincoln, NE 68583-0822. Website http://www.unl.edu/nac


Carbon based energy sources like coal, gas, and oil all originated from the conversion of sunlight energy by plants. A dominant consideration for rebalancing the global carbon cycle is to find ways to promote the increased growth of trees and shrubs. Agricultural activities occur on approximately half of the land in the contiguous U.S., so much of the opportunity to store carbon through afforestation will occur on farms and ranches.

Agroforestry does not convert agricultural land to forests, but rather leaves land in production agriculture, while integrating trees into farm and ranch operations to accomplish economic, environmental, and social goals. Several agroforestry practices can lead to substantial storage of carbon and removal of atmospheric carbon dioxide.