agroforestry transition planning

A Critical Agroforestry-Transition Bottleneck: Planning [+Solutions]

2-minute read

"How can we successfully manage stakeholder expectations and ensure a successful agroforestry transition?"

Agroforestry transitions are often so knowledge-intensive that they require tremendous capacity building. 

Simultaneously, stakeholder expectations must be managed in an effective way that explains how not every farmer will/can transition immediately to a completely regenerative agroforestry farm—that the transition often takes time and is profoundly affected by context.

A clear "roadmap" on how to transition a conventional farm to a 100% regenerative agroforestry model over time is key.

This "roadmap" includes agroforestry transition design guidelines, a design plan, and an implementation plan—ideally all part of a larger project management plan (more on this later).

agroforestry guidelines

The agroforestry-transition design guidelines outline the best management practices for establishing a successful agroforestry system.

These guidelines will consider and will often mention: 


  • Human Capital (Fixed (on-farm) & Variable (locally available))


  • Resources (Land, Selected crops species, Water access and quality, Tools, Finances)


  • Sequencing

  • Scheduling


  • Site Features (Soil conditions, Microclimates, Wind directions, Aspect, Grade, Moisture content, Accessibility, Water access)


  • Crop Selection & Arrangement Criteria (Marketability, Profitability, Crop requirements, Characteristics, Functions, Harvesting and maintenance

The transition design guidelines will consider these attributes and present suggested methodologies to use for the development of the design plan. 

With guidelines completed, we now look at the design plan. This component helps us understand what our finished agroforestry system resembles. 

 When we know what he finished product resembles, we can then use decomposition and reverse-engineering to develop a phase-based approach for implementation.

An agroforestry-transition implementation plan is going to inform us of how the farm transition will take place.

An implementation plan can cover: 

  • Permitting/Licensing/Certification (Everything Legal) 

  • Preliminary Groundwork (Land Preparation) 

  • Construction (Facilities) 

  • Capacity Development (Education & Training) 

  • Program Planting Schedule 

  • Intermediate Groundwork (Successive) 

An implementation plan can also include: who is involved, assigned responsibilities, schedules, finances, and more. As we add additional information, we effectively begin to create a project management plan.

A project management plan can provide many benefits for large projects, including saving time, saving money, and increasing project success rates. 

Some of the key helpful components of a project management plan will include a:

  • Cost management plan 

  • Schedule management plan 

  • Stakeholder management plan 

  • Quality management plan 

  • Resource management plan 

  • Risk management plan 

A day of planning is worth a month of work. 

Imagine trying to build a house with no construction plans. Avoidable mistakes result in costly corrections, where we lose money, time, and other resources. 

No single expert knows everything, so do not hesitate to ask for help. 

Work with project management and agroforestry experts. 

Make plans. 

Transition to agroforestry with greater success. 

 ~Thanks for reading.