Ferns as a forest farming crop: effects of light levels on growth and frond quality of selected speicies with potential in Missouri
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In Missouri 11.3 million acres of commercial forests are privately owned. The vast majority is under very little - if any - management. Agroforestry, specifically forest farming, has the potential to provide producers an opportunity to put these acres under management. In forest farming, high-value specialty crops that require some degree of shade are grown under the protection of the surrounding forest's canopy. The canopy is judiciously modified and managed to provide the proper amount of shade necessary for the specialty crop. Overstory trees are managed for high-value timber or veneer logs. Ferns may be an option to forest farmers as a high-value understory crop.The purpose of this research is to quantify the effects of various levels of light intensity on selected fern species believed to have potential use in the floral green and landscape industries and, to determine the feasibility of commercially grown ferns in Missouri.