Date of Award

Spring 2015

Project Type


Program or Major

Natural Resources and Environmental Studies

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

John E Carroll

Second Advisor

Richard G Smith

Third Advisor

Heidi Asbjornsen


Silvopasture, the sustainable integration of livestock and trees on the same unit of land, may have the potential to contribute to agricultural productivity in the Northeastern United States and concurrently encourage the ecosystems services which trees provide. Extremely little is known regarding the ecological characteristics of silvopastures being utilized, their social and economic drivers, or their agricultural productivity. Silvopasture characteristics, management, and reasons for use were documented through a purposeful sample of silvopasture practitioners in New York and New England. Results document the functional role of silvopastures on regional farms. This research also investigated the ecological and production dynamics of silvopastures in the Northeastern United States, their management, and the reasons for their use. Forest conversion to silvopasture, open pasture, and heavily thinned forests were utilized to investigate the ecological and production dynamics during the establishment phase of forest conversion to pasture. Results suggest the potential for silvopasture as a competitive management option for forestland. This dissertation establishes a baseline for future investigations into the management of silvopastures in the Northeastern United States.