Agroforestry for a vibrant future: connecting people, creating livelihoods, and sustaining places
The North American Agroforestry Conference is a biennial meeting of agroforestry researchers, producers, extension and agency professionals, non-governmental organizations, investors, and policy-makers. The conference is organized and conducted with the Association for Temperate Agroforestry, a 501(c)(3) whose mission is to promote the adoption of agroforestry by landowners in temperate regions. Formed in 1991, members of the Association for Temperate Agroforestry are worldwide and constitute a longstanding network of temperate agroforestry professionals and organizations. The 15th North American Agroforestry Conference occurred at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, Virginia, USA in 2017 with nearly 200 agroforestry professionals from six continents representing a broad range of perspectives and interests. They shared agroforestry research, experiences, and visions, and shaped future agroforestry networking, engagement, education, and policy. Manuscripts in this special issue reflect the breadth and depth of the presentations and contribute valuable insights that cut across initiatives ranging from basic production science, applied adoption research, ecosystem services, and policy. This special issue is part of a tradition of publishing papers from the biennial conference that advance our understanding of temperate agroforestry and its role in the future of farming and forestry.