Cutbank erosion along Decker creek (a tributary of the Fraser River system) west of Burns Lake, British Columbia. The cause: production of hay up to the edge of both banks. A spilling wall (described in the Bioengineering section) is one specific portion of a plan to address this. Meanwhile an over all approach will be developed in this section
As the agricultural portion of its name implies, Agroforestry is a management approach that includes economic activities as part of the land use on a site. Some might regard this as inconsistent with the goals of forest restoration which is often seen as targeted more towards preservation than conservation.
However, sustainability is the ultimate goal. So it is best to keep in mind that land uses that are compatible human activity are both more likely to be widely adopted and to endure than those which shut people out. Thus such land uses will have the greatest impact. Regardless of what one thinks agroforestry may have to offer riparian restoration, there can be little question that incorporating riparian restoration into agroforestry will allow both to gain.
One example of how this might be done is through the establishment of riparian forest buffers like the one pictured below in a photo by the USDA National Agroforestry Center.
Riparian forest buffers offer a compromise. In most cases, the bottomland forests that were cleared to allow agriculture on fertile river valley soils are unlikely to be allowed to regenerate. However many of the benefits (protection of water quality, prevention of erosion etc.) of such forests can be produced by establishing maintaining or expanding riparian forest buffers.
Recently planted riparian forest buffer for agricultural land along the Okanogan (a tributary of the Columbia River system). The site was an eroding outer curve, with alfalfa being grown up to the edge of the bank. The buffer was fenced off, and addition to the trees planted on top, the base of the bank was armoured with rip-rap boulders.