Well informed landowners are crucial to the ecological, economic and aesthetic sustainability of their land. Many residential landowners have long depended on the valuable advice and information that Cornell Cooperative Extension of Greene County (CCE GC) has provided. This information ranges from gardening advice to the intricacies of a home septic system to environmentally safer and healthier practices in and around their homes that impact water quality and other natural resources in their community. Programs relating to agriculture continue and include innovative practices such as grass based animal production.
Through the Agroforestry Resource Center CCE GC has expanded those boundaries by focusing also on those landowners who own forested land. While forests comprise 65% of the landscape in this region, 85% of that land is in private ownership. Because good stewardship is vital to the sustainability of our rural landscape the ARC has provided numerous programs and workshops to assist these private forest owners. We recognize the wise use of forests is crucial to the health and well being of the rural communities where they occur and influence neighboring regions that also benefit from the assets of forested lands. These assets include a source of clean drinking water, scenic beauty, recreational opportunities, and income derived from timber use in wood products as well as the role agroforestry or forest farming contributes.
In its first two years the Agroforestry Resource Center has conducted many programs in order to provide forest landowners information to assist them in making wise land use decisions. Topics ranging from the importance of forest management, the cultivation of ginseng and mushrooms, land conservation and easements, maple syrup production, forest pests, and pruning and grafting workshops. All have been offered at the ARC with the intention of providing forest landowners the tools that can help them become good forest stewards. Many of these programs have included the participation and partnership from regional organizations such as the New York Forest Owners Associations who are also interested in the long term health and sustainability of our forests. We will continue to develop new programs for forest landowners in order to provide them the tools and information to guarantee good forest stewardship practices .