November 2008 Multi-story Cropping PRACTICE INTRODUCTION USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service―Practice Code 379 MULTI-STORY CROPPING Multi-story cropping can provide a way to Multi-story cropping means that existing or cultivate high-value specialty crops under the planted stands of trees or shrubs are managed as an protection of a forest canopy. Meanwhile, timber overstory with an understory of woody and/or stand improvement can result in a higher value nonwoody plants that are grown for a variety of timber crop as a long-term economic strategy. products. COMMON ASSOCIATED PRACTICES PRACTICE INFORMATION Multi-story cropping is commonly applied as part The purpose of multi-story cropping is to: of a Conservation Management System with practices such as: • Improve crop diversity by growing mixed but compatible crops having different • Forest Stand Improvement (666) heights on the same area • Tree/Shrub Establishment (612) • Improve soil quality by increasing • Tree/Shrub Pruning (660) utilization and cycling of nutrients and • Tree/Shrub Site Preparation (490) maintaining or increasing soil organic matter • Access Control (472) • Increase net carbon storage in plant For further information, refer to the practice biomass and soil standard in the local Field Office Technical Guide and associated practice specifications and job This practice applies on all lands where trees, sheets. shrubs, and woody or nonwoody crops can be grown in combination. This practice does not apply on land that is grazed. The following page identifies the effects expected to occur when this practice is applied. These effects are subjective and somewhat dependent on variables such as climate, terrain, soil, etc. All appropriate local, State, Tribal, and Federal permits and approvals are the responsibility of the landowner and are presumed to have been obtained. Users are cautioned that these effects are estimates that may or may not apply to a specific site. November 2008 Multi-Story Cropping (379) Initial setting: Cropland or unmanaged forest with potential for growing trees or shrubs that may or may not be dissected by 7/2008 Multi-Story Cropping (379) streams. Field concerns are water and wind erosion and lack of Start diverse tree and understory products and habitat Notes: Effects are qualified with a plus (+) or minus (-). These symbols indicate only 1. Wood fiber in D.2 (+) 2. Woody plant root systems, 3. Canopy cover and an increase (+) or a decrease (-) in the established plants Carbon litter, and soil OM D.6 (+) vertical vegetative effect of the resource, not whether the storage Shade* structure from effect is beneficial or adverse. established plants * When traditional cropland is converted to multi-story cropping D.1 (+) Initial wood D.3 (+) Infiltration of D.5 (-) Sheet, fiber growth rate precipitation and soil rill, streambank storage* erosion and D.8 (+) Aesthetics D.10 (-) Micro- sedimentation* climate extremes* I.1 (-) Later wood fiber growth rate D.4 (+) Uptake of D.7 (+) D.9 (-) Wind soil nutrients and I.3 (-) Stream Arboreal, velocity* D.11 (-) trapping of water- water understory Traditional borne sediment temperature habitat; detritus cropland area* O&M - periodic tree and large I.8 (+) Tree and understory product woody debris* and understory removal while I.2 (+) production maintaining erosion Denitrification of I.9 (-) control soil nitrates I.6 (-) Traditional crop Pesticide production drift 4. Harvested wood C.1 (-) C.2 (+) Quality of I.4 (+) Stream fauna, fiber (manufactured Atmospheric receiving waters e.g., fish, invertebrates I.5 (+) I.7 (-) Wind- LEGEND wood products) and CO2 and Forest borne other tree/understory- greenhouse wildlife sediment related products effect and Associated practice or sediment- activity attached C.7 (+) Tree and pollutants understory product #. Created by practice D.12 (+) business and support Diversified infrastructure D. Direct effect landowner income; C.4 (+) Environmental I. Indirect effect contractor C.3 (+) Aquatic health for humans, quality C.5 (+) Air quality income domestic and wild animals C. Cumulative effect pathway C.6 (+) Recreation business and C.8 (+) Income and income I.10 (+/-) support infrastructure stability (individuals and Potential (+) increase; (-) decrease community) income The diagram above identifies the effects expected to occur when this practice is applied according to NRCS practice standards and specifications. These effects are subjective and somewhat dependent on variables such as climate, terrain, soil, etc. All appropriate local, State, Tribal, and Federal permits and approvals are the responsibility of the landowners and are presumed to have been obtained. All income changes are partially dependent upon market fluctuations which are independent of the conservation practices. Users are cautioned that these effects are estimates that may or may not apply to a specific site.