Riparian Forest Buffers with a Tasty Twist

Planting trees and shrubs adjacent to a waterway can reduce erosion, nutrient and sediment runoff, and cool water temperatures to create coldwater refugia for MD’s native brook trout; all benefits of what we call riparian forest buffers. An added incentive for landowners to plant more of these beneficial buffers would be blending in agroforestry species that produce fruits, nuts and syrups (e.g. sugar maple, hazelnut, walnut, black chokeberry). All of these specialty crops can improve the land and our health while providing potential new markets for farmers seeking new sources of income and species more adaptable to changing conditions. Even woody colorful stems like red-osier dogwood or winterberry could be incorporated into mix for woody floral crafts to be brought to market.​

Riparian Forest Buffer Illustration courtesy of USDA National Agroforestry Center