Farmer planting trees on land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program. Photo courtesy USDA NRCS.
Farmer planting conifer seedlings for a shelterbelt. Photo courtesy USDA NRCS
Christmas tree farm. Photo courtesy USDA NRCS
Woods in an agricultural setting. Photo courtesy USDA NRCS
Tree and shrub planting for conservation purposes is establishing perennial woody plants for reforestation, habitat restoration, tree or forest farming, riparian buffers, windbreaks, floodplain wetland restoration and—less commonly in Minnesota—other agroforestry practices such as alley cropping and silvopasture. Tree/shrub planting is appropriate in areas of Minnesota that were historically forested or mixed grassland/woodland ecosystems such as oak savanna.
Examples of tree farming in Minnesota include Christmas tree and other woody crop plantations. Of particular interest are fast growing trees like hybrid poplar or hybrid cottonwood that can be harvested every 10-15 years and sold for pulpwood, biomass and other wood products.
Forest farming involves managing woodlots to produce high quality timber, firewood or specialty forest products. Examples of high-value woodland specialty products in Minnesota include edible nuts, berries and mushrooms; medicinal plants such as ginseng; native tree, shrub or wildflower seeds or seedlings; and woody floral products such as basket willows and evergreen boughs.
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Guidance from USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
National Agroforestry Center
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Minnesota Post-CRP Options - Minnesota Department of Agriculture
See Forestry/Woodlot Management resources also.
See contacts for specific programs that fund this practice in the side-by-side payment comparison or contact your local Soil and Water Conservation District