A free email agroforestry journal for practitioners, extension agents, researchers, professionals, students, and enthusiasts. One edition is sent each month focusing on a concept related to designing, developing, and learning more about trees and agroforestry systems. Focuses on trees and their roles in agriculture, natural ecosystems, human culture and economy.

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Overstory #220 - Adapting to climate change

altAgroforestry systems have potential to mitigate effects of climate change, while strengthening communities.


Over the past two decades climate change has evolved from a debate about whether the planet is really warming to an increased focus on how to mitigate and adapt to its impacts, due mainly from the growing acceptance among scientists, policy makers, and even the general public that climate change is real and happening. This acceptance is based on the overwhelming evidence presented by the scientific community through intensive monitoring of global climatic systems, extensive observations on changes in terrestrial and aquatic systems, and predictive modeling (IPCC, 2007; Stern, 2007; Hansen et al., 2007).

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Overstory #219 - The need for organic farm forestry and the potential for organic timber

altOrganic practices and agroforestry can complement each other by using environmentally beneficial methods and making the most of natural systems, cycles and/or products.

Agroforestry and organics, complementary solutions to the problems of modern agriculture

Organic production is now increasing rapidly, receiving much publicity and a rising market share. Farm forestry or agroforestry is a complementary alternative to ‘conventional agriculture’ but continues to receive much less attention. Both have roots that go back at least 50 years to early awareness that 20th century food production was unsustainable. Both use environmentally beneficial methods of farming, making the most of natural systems, cycles and/or products. Both promote diversity, in what is produced, in supporting more local wildlife, and often in a more varied landscape. Both ensure a healthy agriculture through sustainable techniques, better for humanity and the environment.

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Overstory #218 - Seed storage

altOptimal storage conditions can ensure that seeds retain viability as long as possible. (pictured: Leucaena leucocephala seeds)


Seed can maintain viability for long periods if it is properly stored. When seed is stored in unfavorable conditions, it quickly dies. This article describes ways of keeping seed alive through proper seed storage.

Why should I store seeds?

Tree seed is stored for various reasons. All reasons for seed storage encompass some element of future use of the seed.

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Overstory #217 - Pruning of timber trees

copyright Craig ElevitchPruned trunks of Acrocarpus fraxinifolius and Toona ciliata for clearwood sawn timber production.


The main purpose of pruning is to enhance timber value by increasing the proportion of clearwood. Knot-free limber commonly attracts a premium price in appearance grade markets for pine, eucalypt, leak, Douglas fir and many other species. Although not often specified, knot-free timber is also preferable in the structural timber market where large or loose knots affect limber strength.

For pruning to be effective, knots or detects resulting from them must cause significant product downgrade. Sawing trials of unpruned trees by CSIRO (E. globulus) and Queensland DPI (E. cloeziana) confirm that knots are the worst grade-limiting defect affecting both appearance and structural grade sawn timber from eucalypt plantations. Waugh and Yang (1994) of CSIRO actually concluded that, because of knots, "there appeared to be little commercial opportunity for appearance products" from eucalypt plantations in Tasmania.

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Overstory #100 - Agroforesters Library (redirect)

Thank you for visiting The Overstory journal.

This page is merely a placeholder in the journal's numbered sequence for a previously published edition, informing subscribers of updated reference links and changes in the Agroforester's Library.

Please visit the Agroforester's Library consisting of recommended books, periodicals, species references and other links one may find useful in the agroforestry field.

Overstory #216 - Introduction to temperate edible forest gardens


Editor’s note

This edition marks the eleventh anniversary of The Overstory. Our first edition was published on March 2, 1998 to a list of 200 addresses. This 216th edition is being sent to over 8,400 addresses in 184 countries, attesting to the growth in interest in the role of trees in agriculture, resource and habitat conservation, health of people and ecosystems, and human culture and economy. Thank you for your work to support sustainable stewardship of our planet and communities.

I am proud to continue publishing impressive new work from around the world. This edition excerpts a two-volume book entitled Edible Forest Gardens by Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier, which covers theory and practice for temperate environments. I am always looking for new and exciting material related to trees such as the source material for this edition of The Overstory. If you have something in mind for us to publish, please see our unique selection criteria at http://www.agroforestry.net/overstory/ovsubm.html.

Please support The Overstory’s publication by sponsoring an edition, purchasing books, or making a donation http://www.agroforestry.net/overstory/ovdonation.html.

Aloha and thank you,
Craig Elevitch

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