Factors influencing practitioner adoption of agroforestry : a USDA SARE case study
Agroforestry practices offer a compelling alternative to conventional agriculture as they provide a broad range of economic, ecological and social benefits. Despite its' recognized potential, on-the-ground adoption of U.S. agroforestry remains limited. Therefore, there is a need to explore factors influencing agroforestry adoption and dissemination bottlenecks. While previous studies have focused mostly on landowners and farmers interests in agroforestry, this research aims to portray the perspective of actual agroforestry practitioners. Early adopters of agroforestry represent an essential stepping stone to further agroforestry diffusion, thus, a better understanding of the factors that influence their decisions and their reasons behind adoption of agroforestry practices can help to promote wider adoption. This research study helps to inform the following questions: the who and why of early stage agroforestry adoption and what factors influence adoption decisions. Further, it explores the timeline to agroforestry adoption, preferred channels of communication and support systems. This study also represents the first attempt to map agroforestry adoption in the U.S. In addition, this work highlights the internal driving forces leading to agroforestry adoption. Recommendations are offered concerning target audiences, efficient messaging and effective channels of communication. Further research is needed to investigate both the temporal and spatial aspects of agroforestry adoption.