Agroforestry Performance, Pests & Pollinators

Production agroforestry systems offer many benefits for farmers and society. The Savanna Institute is evaluating on three key themes on four pioneer production agroforestry farms that each use different management strategies. The data from this project will provide baseline data on the pests and pollinators of these systems.


Collaborators: USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education


Silvopasture Establishment & Tree Protection

The Savanna Institute is working with four farms across the Midwest that are establishing seedling-stage trees into their pastures to create silvopasture systems. This research project will trial methods of integrating livestock and seedling-stage tree crops, especially tree protection strategies. In addition, outreach via field days, research bulletins, and podcast interviews with experienced silvopastoralists will facilitate knowledge exchange.


Collaborators: USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education

Long-Term Leases for Agroforestry

Agroforestry farmers that do not own land require long-term and secure land tenure that is beyond the scope of the typical annual agricultural lease. The Savanna Institute is working to advance favorable legal frameworks and infrastructure to facilitate innovative agroforestry land access options.  Primarily, our focus is to explore the viability and best practices of using long-term lease arrangements and other multi-party collaborative frameworks to expand opportunities for agroforestry.


Collaborators: Farm Commons, National Agroforestry Center

Currant Performance Trials

In cooperation with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), the Savanna Institute is establishing replicated performance trials of 20 commercial currant (Ribes sp.) cultivars on three farms in Northern, Central, and Southern Illinois.


Currants are highly nutritious berries that are under-utilized in the United States, and are one of the few crops that tolerate some shade while still producing fruit. Currants offer the potential to increase grower revenue by incorporating the small shrubs into existing orchards without affecting the productivity of the primary crop.


Collaborators: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Serviceberry Performance Trials

In collaboration with Fields Restored, a young production agroforestry farm near Oregon, IL, the Savanna Institute has established a replicated  performance trial of 17 commercial servicerberry (Amelanchier sp.) cultivars. Serviceberries, also known as saskatoons, are native to most of North America and have great potential for further cultivation across the Midwest.


Collaborators: Fields Restored

The Fruit & Nut Compass

The Fruit and Nut Compass Project will develop a quantitative tool and a set of qualitative principles that will support fruit, nut, and berry farmers with diversified operations in making evidence-based decisions about integrated cropping choices, management practices, and marketing channels. By sharing research findings, training farmers to use the Fruit and Nut Compass Tool, and using targeted and innovative outreach, the project will lead to more productive, profitable, and sustainable diversified farm enterprises.


Collaborators: University of Wisconsin - Madison

Carbon Sequestration on Agroforestry Farms

The Savanna Institute began taking baseline soil carbon samples with its first cohort of case study farmers in 2014. These baseline samples will be a critical asset decades down the road to evaluate the carbon sequestration potential of agroforestry farms.


Collaborators: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Savanna Institute

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