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Permaculture-ing former tree farm / timber land

 
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Looking for good deals on returning back no my native ecosystem (coastal VA/NC) and many of the large-acre tracts for a good price I'm finding are former Tree Farms, some clearcut, some not.

If you acquired a piece of land like this, how would you go about restoring native plants and growing food? what would you do first?
 
steward
Posts: 979
Location: Northern Zone, Costa Rica - 200 to 300 meters Tropical Humid Rainforest
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In my opinion, you have a potential gold mine for going to permaculture. Though monocrop plantations aren't the best, it is easy enough to use the established plantation as a nursery for what you want to do. Also, depending on the trees and plantation, while making room, you can make a product. A small portable sawmill (they can be very reasonably priced, especially used) will allow you to cut your own wood for construction, as well as for sell if there is a local market. All the waste can be used to create swales. Just place the logs sideways on the slopes, immediate benefit.

Think like nature as well, how does nature prevent the whole world from being a forest? Fire normally and landslides. (yeah, landslides do occur even when there are trees) Not suggesting using fire, but use a chainsaw to clear out clearings inside the plantations, the trees around create a wonderful buffer, and you an use drop trees to build your growing beds.

I like to push over trees too, down hill, creates wonderful swales. (can you tell I am into no work swales?)

Even clear cut isn't too bad if they left all the tops, etc. Better to have one though that isn't.
 
Posts: 18
Location: Texas - Zone 8
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I am with Fred on this one, utilize those trees to build up water retention on the land.

Some other thoughts:

- Clearing out small sections of trees in say 1/4 to 1/2 acre sections, building Hugelkulture beds in the clearings with the debris.

- planting those small clearings with polyculture systems of both crops and "natives" deepening on zone.

- Thinning areas, develop food forest systems.

- Thin with time and work to bring a more natural forest

- I really like the thought of harvesting all of your lumber for building your home, building animal shelters etc. Selling off some of the surplus.

Just some of my thoughts....
 
Fred Morgan
steward
Posts: 979
Location: Northern Zone, Costa Rica - 200 to 300 meters Tropical Humid Rainforest
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What I really like is it is what the settlers should have done. Instead of thinking that the trees are worthless, use them.

Also, you can make incredibly nice flooring with a portable bandsaw, a joiner, plainer and a shaper. You might well pay off the equipment in the value of the flooring you make. Sustainable harvest of forests is a very interesting topic, and a lot of fun too.

We make laminated beams out of scrap as well, using the same basic tools.
 
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