Forest Farming: Combing the Canopy

There is an edible and medicinal understory below our forest canopy, and harvesting plants such as goldenseal, ginseng, shiitake mushrooms or black cohosh is all part of what’s known as forest farming. This practice can easily be folded into a riparian forest buffer, with these low-growing species covering the buffer floor and offering an agroforestry product to sell or use while the trees and shrubs of the buffer mature and produce fruits, nuts or syrup.

Either way, forest farming is just another layer in the range of benefits and practices that agroforestry can offer landowners out there, from the backyard gardener to the beekeeper to the traditional corn & soy farmer.


Goldenseal on the forest floor. USDA National Agroforestry Center Photo by Katie Trozzo​