Multifunctional Woody Polyculture: Field Trial
The Multifunctional Woody Polyculture (MWP) project aims to develop a research infrastructure that evaluates the potential of productive agroforestry systems as a transformative solution to meet growing demand for healthy foods while advancing the sustainability of food production in the United States and abroad. This research site was inspired by work being done at the original MWP pilot study.
What is a woody polyculture?
A woody polyculture is a specific agroforestry system that focuses on multiple species of woody crops as the basis for agricultural production.
What are the potential benefits?
Intercropped Chestnuts and Black Currants
Video describing research at the MWP Field site
Established: May 2015
Woody Species: Chestnut, black currant, hybrid hazelnut, apple, amelanchier, American hazelnut, aronia, elderberry, pawpaw, pecan, persimmon, plum
Alley Composition: Pasture mix
Annual Avg. Weather: 52˚F, 40in precip, USDA zone 5b/6a
Description: The MWP is a 30-acre University of Illinois agricultural research site consisting of over 12,000 woody plants. The research site has 7 system level treatments, ranging from simple monocultures to diverse woody polcyultures. This acts as an alternative option for agriculture in the Midwest, initially targeting areas that are not best suited for row crops. We are comparing a variety of systems (mixtures of trees, shrubs, and forage or hay) that yield multiple food and fuel products including fruits and nuts.
Sarah Taylor Lovell, [Lead PI] Associate Professor of Crop Sciences.
Nick Paulson, Associate Professor of Agricultural and Consumer Economics.
Michelle Wander, Professor of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences
Wendy Yang, Assistant Professor of Plant Biology
Jeremy Guest, Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Bruce Branham, Professor of Crop Sciences
Students and Technicians
Tito Lavaire, academic hourly researcher and technician
William Eddy, Postdoctoral Associate in Plant Biology. Read more about William
Ronald Revord, Ph.D. student in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences
Kevin Wolz, Ph.D. student in the Program in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology
Diana Kapanzhi, Ph.D. student in Environmental Engineering
Eric Wolske, Masters student in Crop Sciences
Matthew Wilson, Masters student in Crop Sciences
Erik Stanek, Masters student in Crop Sciences
This project received seed funding from the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE) in 2014, which supports actionable research efforts in secure and sustainable agriculture.
Click to enlarge image