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John Munsell awarded 1.4 million dollars for agroforestry projects

Oct. 27, 2015 – Forest Management Extension Specialist and Associate Professor John Munsell in the Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation has been awarded 1.4 million dollars to expand uses of agroforestry to enhance farm and forest production while achieving strategic conservation goals.

Complementary awards from the Natural Resources Conservation Service National Conservation Innovation Grants Program and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Program total over $560,000 and support a public-private partnership that will work to integrate agroforestry practices into Virginia’s water quality trading program and demonstrate and evaluate associated practices. The objective is to increase tree-based nutrient offset opportunities on farmland in Virginia’s region of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and beyond. The partnership is broad, including Chesapeake Bay Nutrient Land Trust, Virginia Water Resources and Research Center, Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation, Virginia Cooperative Extension, USDA National Agroforestry Center, VHB Engineering, and the Law Officers of Troutman Sanders.

The National Institute for Food and Agriculture’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, the eXtension Foundation Innovation Grants Program, and the USDA Forest Service are supporting programs to expand forest farming in Appalachia and on Native American land. Funding of over $880,000 will support Initiatives that include citizen science 2.0, management based on traditional ecological knowledge, and GeoDesign techniques and high performance computer simulation to promote precision forest farming. The overarching aim of the work is to expand cultivation and conservation of non-timber forest products and prepare forest farmers to supply verified and organic forest grown raw material to nutraceutical and herbal product industries. Partners include the USDA Forest Service, US Geologic Survey, the Pennsylvania State University, North Carolina State University, the Maryland University of Integrative Health, the Visual Computing Lab and Center for Geospatial Information Technology at Virginia Tech, Appalachian Sustainable Development, United Plant Savers, Rural Action, the Blue Ridge Woodland Growers, the USDA National Agroforestry Center, North Carolina Herbarium, the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry, and the Southern Regional Extension Network.

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