Until his retirement in 2016, Bill Schroeder was an agroforestry scientist with the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Agroforestry Development Centre at Indian Head, Saskatchewan. With expertise in tree genetics, nursery propagation and agroforestry, he made substantial science contributions to hardy woody plants and agroforestry systems.
During his 35 year career he was a world leader in breeding woody plants for agroforestry systems. The influence of his research can be seen daily in the thousands of farmstead and field shelterbelts planted throughout western Canada.
Contributions to Agroforestry
- Agroforestry Systems - His extensive research on agroforestry resulted in EcoBuffer and Willow Riparian Buffer BMPs that provide co-benefits of erosion control, biodiversity enhancement, carbon sequestration, nutrient management and biomass production.
- Tree Breeding - Bred andreleased 18 tree and shrub cultivars for agroforestry systems. The planting of theseimproved cultivars contributed to the successful establishment of millions of trees in the Canadian prairies by thousands of farmers.
- Plant Exploration - Collected trees and shrubsin North America, Siberia andnortheast China. He was among the first Canadian tree breeders to gain access to remote regions of China and Siberiaobtaining new genetic material for Canadian breeding programs. Through his collectionsover 6000 new tree and shrub genotypes were introduced to western Canada.
- Genetic Diversity - His theories on importance of genetic diversity in agroforestry tree plantings have influenced tree breeding and planting programs worldwide.Through the Food and Agriculture Organization he was invited on numerous occasions to instructChinese land managers on this topic.
- Poplar Breeding - His poplar breeding program was one of the largest and most successful programs in Canada. His program selected and released numerous poplar varieties including Okanese, Sundancer, Katepwa, Assiniboine, Manitou and CanAm poplars
- Seabuckthorn-His pioneering seabuckthornresearch has been instrumental in the development of this super plant in North America.From his breeding the high yielding seabuckthorncultivars Harvest Moon, Autumn Glow, Prairie Sunset and Orange September have been released.
- Nursery Propagation - Seed propagation and nursery protocols developed by Schroeder were implemented by the PFRA Prairie Shelterbelt Program at Indian Head to grow millions of tree seedlings annually. His propagation technology has been adopted internationally by agroforestry nurseries.
- Publications - Authored 35 peer reviewed journal articles, 1 book, 6 book chapters and hundreds of publications and reports.
- Presentations - Invited as conference and symposia keynote speaker on numerous occasions to present his agroforestry research.Interacting and sharing his research with producers was a priority.