Welcome to the Agroforestry Word of the Week blog!

We’re making it easy for you to get into the world of agroforestry by sharing common agroforestry terms and examples with you every Wednesday. Subscribe here to receive your weekly word and start building your agroforestry vocabulary and knowledge.

A-frame - /ā,ə frām/ - noun

March 20h, 2019

Definition: A wooden structure resembling the letter “A” that is used to identify the contour lines on sloped land. By attaching a rock that hangs from a string at the top of the “A”, the frame serves as a “level” and can accurately mark off the contours on sloped land to ensure that the rows of vegetation are planted at a uniform elevation.

In the Forest Garden: In order for farmers to benefit from contour planting, it is essential that they are able to accurately identify contour lines. If a farmer incorrectly marks the contours lines in his/her field, runoff can build up and flow along the vegetation, potentially causing more erosion than would normally happen, even without contour planting. To ensure farmers are contour planting correctly, they learn how to construct and calibrate the A-frame before going out into their field to mark contour lines.

Want to build your own? 
Here is all you need:

  1. Two 1.5 to 2 meter sticks or poles about 3 to 5 cm in diameter (wood, bamboo, plastic, or any other light-weight, sturdy material)

  2. One 1 to 1.5 meter stick of the same material

  3. Three nails, or 2 meters of twine/string for binding the wood together

  4. One 1.5 meter piece of twine/string for the level

  5. One round rock, about 5 cm in diameter

Learn how to build and use an A-frame here.