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How to make a hunter/forager paradise

 
pollinator
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I love exploring the wilderness and its related activities, so i have an idea: Create a hunting/foraging/fishing paradise.

I think it would require a few specifics to follow while designing in order to keep it wild in appearance, just way more productive. Maybe even natural enough that an inexperienced visitor would think that it was all
"wilderness."It would only be a residence if you wanted a stone age lifestyle on limited property. Otherwise it would be a great spot for primitive camping, hiking, getting wild food, and just plain enjoying Nature.

Here's a starting list, please let me know your ideas about removing an item or adding one (or a few)
  • Wild plants, those that fit well in that ecosystem and are local
  • Plants that are very beneficial to intended prey animals
  • Using the flow of the land as much as possible and keeping earthworks discreet.  
  • Shelter belts around the perimeter to keep litter from blowing/being thrown in
  • limited infrastructure, to keep that wilderness appeal
  •  
    pollinator
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    I love it!
     
    pollinator
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    I would think...and this kills me to say...but you would have to limit logging. It is a great resource in which to pay those dreaded taxes, but it can be seen even years and years later. No really scarring of the land, but evidence for sure.

    I have a lot of what you list here though.

    I had thought all of our land had been logged (it took from 1746-2018 to do so), but I found an area of our land that escaped the chainsaw, or has so far. It is located about 2 miles from the nearest road, has a stream running through it, and obviously has old growth forest.


    Old-growth-forest-1.jpg
    Old growth forest 1
    Old growth forest 1
    Old-growth-forest-2.jpg
    Old growth forest 2
    Old growth forest 2
    Old-growth-forest-3.jpg
    Old growth forest 3
    Old growth forest 3
     
    Travis Johnson
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    It might be interesting to note, but the big spruce tree in the photo, is actually a very rare Veneer Log. It looks like White Spruce, but if it was Red Spruce, would be used to make guitars.
     
    pollinator
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    Travis that is a beautiful piece of property.  Approximately where in Maine is it?  We have spent the last 15 years in upstate NY on 35 acres.  Our property was last logged off in 1992 so it is beginning to exhibit some signs of paradise.  Perhaps this thread came along as a sign.  Yesterday we were out walking in the woods talking about possibly getting it logged off before we moved.  We lost count a long time ago of how many trees and shrubs we have put in the ground.  Certainly worth all the effort.  We are, though, seriously, thinking of moving to Maine.  Something in us wants waterfront and here in NY it is just too expensive.

    The author of this thread has a great idea but you must have an incredible amount of patience and a source of income to keep things going.  And now we are so torn on whether to turn this over to someone else.  Oh well.
     
    Travis Johnson
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    Ed Waters wrote:Travis that is a beautiful piece of property.  Approximately where in Maine is it?  We have spent the last 15 years in upstate NY on 35 acres.  Our property was last logged off in 1992 so it is beginning to exhibit some signs of paradise.  Perhaps this thread came along as a sign.  Yesterday we were out walking in the woods talking about possibly getting it logged off before we moved.  We lost count a long time ago of how many trees and shrubs we have put in the ground.  Certainly worth all the effort.  We are, though, seriously, thinking of moving to Maine.  Something in us wants waterfront and here in NY it is just too expensive.

    The author of this thread has a great idea but you must have an incredible amount of patience and a source of income to keep things going.  And now we are so torn on whether to turn this over to someone else.  Oh well.



    I live in Waldo County, so pretty close to Belfast, Maine.

    People are really put off how rural it is here, but I rather like it. I can jump in the car and be on the coast in 15 minutes, and yet in front of my house there is 7000 acres of forest without a house in that acreage, and behind my house some 12,000 acres.

    Unfortunately for me, my land is at the height of land, it actually splits two watersheds so I do not have anything for water on my land. I got this stream, and a few others, but nothing anywhere close to my house.

    It is interesting that there are only (2) counties in the Eastern Half of the United States that still falls under the definition of a "Frontier". One is Piscatiquis County, Maine, and Hamilton County, New York. To have that distinction, a location must have less than 6 people per square mile.
     
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    the montichello area of florida may not has of yet been too effected by massive unregulated growth. Florida is one place where tract housing is developed in square miles not just neighborhoods or blocks. in much of the state the groundwater has been thoughouly corrupted and is no longer potable. The forests are bulldozed the same way. look at what has taken place in just the past few years in say for example venice area, or ocala  or even tree city,Gainesville, where  square miles of massive ancient oak trees where chipped up for mulch to make way for bass pro shop, other businesses and tracts of housing. the groundwater changed from pristine to polluted asphalt run off.
    unless you own a whole bunch of land there to maintain your paradise you might want to be sure of what is upstream and up wind
     
    Ed Waters
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    Florida is in pretty bad shape.  We normally stay in the Venice area for around a month during the worst of winter.  Last year we tried Hawthorne for a couple of weeks which was a little bit better in some ways.  The park where the book The Yearling was written is a pretty good example of what it can be like, but the development continues every where else.  Never knew that about Hamilton NY.  Its about 4 hours from our place in Steuben County.  Our place had been certified organic for 15 years when we bought it and we have kept it that way.  Amazing what a difference you can make with just simple things like delaying the haying until after August 1st or letting the swallows nest wherever they want to.  
     
    pollinator
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    Hm. I am thinking that it depends.. location!

    Much of my land was logged, by the previous owner, gradually, from about 20 year ago to 5  years ago.

    The older regrowth isn't great in terms of food value for most critters once the cottonwood and alder saplings get above head height. Great cover though.

    The few patches of 80+ year old second growth are comparable in size to Travis' picture. Not much here for animals either. Some fungus and mushroomy stuff. Not many berries.

    The middle aged deciduous forest has lots of berries for people and bears.

    The neweat regrowth and the open fields are full of deer browse.

    The edges have lots of both.

    Without the logging, the only edges (barring permanent terrain imposed types, which often aren't as good formgrowies) are forest fire, creek, and beaver imposed.

    And, civilization often decrees forest fires, and sometimes beaver, to be undesirable. So.. edges gone. And, thou shalt not fuck about near creeks, or the powers that be shall smite you, so... edges not entirely open to improvement.


    But, this is a wet coast forest. An east coast mature forest might have stuff(nuts!) that is not native here...
     
    pollinator
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    To answer your question Huxley I would first point you to Sepp Holzer and Mark Shepperd. They're the two best landscape scale managers that I know of.
    My amateur summary of their mutual philosophies is;
    Variety in landscape/lots of borders
    Maintain/improve/develop water sources and surface water
    Diversity is key

    You probably know all those principals and they will produce different approaches for every parcel.  
    But I think they apply to your goal well, you might tilt the balance of native/domestic plantings a bit too favor wild life food sources but in many places few things will make good hunting/foraging ground like an orchard.

    The key, from my perspective, to increase wildlife is to maximize the diversity of ways you interact with your land. There will be more plant/animal/fungi activity on a 100 acre property that has some pasture, some heavily worked garden, some lightly managed food forest and some undisturbed areas than there will be on 100 acres of undisturbed forest.
     
    Tyler Ludens
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    Dillon Nichols wrote:

    The newest regrowth and the open fields are full of deer browse.



    I think logging or creating selective clearcuts would be vital to providing feeding areas for deer.  Old growth forest typically harbors most wildlife in the high canopy - birds, squirrels, but no deer!  Native people burned forest and grassland to increase game for hunting.

    Martin Crawford talks about how the forest garden must be maintained as a young forest, because a mature forest won't provide much food:  
     
    Huxley Harter
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    some good ideas:

    stephen lowe wrote Maintain/improve/develop water sources and surface water


    Tyler Ludens wrote Native people burned forest and grassland to increase game for hunting.


    Dillon Nichols wrote The newest regrowth and the open fields are full of deer browse.

     
    Travis Johnson
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    Tyler Ludens wrote:

    Dillon Nichols wrote:

    The newest regrowth and the open fields are full of deer browse.



    I think logging or creating selective clearcuts would be vital to providing feeding areas for deer.  Old growth forest typically harbors most wildlife in the high canopy - birds, squirrels, but no deer!  Native people burned forest and grassland to increase game for hunting.

    Martin Crawford talks about how the forest garden must be maintained as a young forest, because a mature forest won't provide much food:  



    You are right regarding this. I had a lot of mature forest, and while there was wildlife, it was limited compared to other landowners around me.

    One thing a person can do though, is "Circle Cut". It is not a clear cut, and not a selective harvest, you just go into a spot in the woods and cut a small circle of the wood out. Not a huge area, maybe a 50 foot diameter circle to let light in by opening up the canopy in one small spot. In a few years it just pops up with diversity. This is when the deer, rabbits, and all kinds of other animals come in. You can still leave the mature forest on the outer edges of it. I got some pictures some where of this technique, and it is actually pretty mind-blowing how effective it is.

    As a member of the American Tree Farm System, I MUST manage for air, water, soil and WILDLIFE, and this was a technique recommended to me by the Maine Forest Service, and it really works.
     
    D Nikolls
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    Travis Johnson wrote:

    Tyler Ludens wrote:

    Dillon Nichols wrote:

    The newest regrowth and the open fields are full of deer browse.



    I think logging or creating selective clearcuts would be vital to providing feeding areas for deer.  Old growth forest typically harbors most wildlife in the high canopy - birds, squirrels, but no deer!  Native people burned forest and grassland to increase game for hunting.

    Martin Crawford talks about how the forest garden must be maintained as a young forest, because a mature forest won't provide much food:  



    You are right regarding this. I had a lot of mature forest, and while there was wildlife, it was limited compared to other landowners around me.

    One thing a person can do though, is "Circle Cut". It is not a clear cut, and not a selective harvest, you just go into a spot in the woods and cut a small circle of the wood out. Not a huge area, maybe a 50 foot diameter circle to let light in by opening up the canopy in one small spot. In a few years it just pops up with diversity. This is when the deer, rabbits, and all kinds of other animals come in. You can still leave the mature forest on the outer edges of it. I got some pictures some where of this technique, and it is actually pretty mind-blowing how effective it is.

    As a member of the American Tree Farm System, I MUST manage for air, water, soil and WILDLIFE, and this was a technique recommended to me by the Maine Forest Service, and it really works.




    Neat. I have an arrangment with a guy that runs chainsaw/falling training courses, where he falls trash trees on my land. It's a bit of a fine line, as he does no cleanup and I do not want to end up with massive amounts of fire fuel lying around.. but this sort of patchwork of smallish cleared areas is one of the things I am having him do.
     
    s. lowe
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    Travis Johnson wrote:

    Tyler Ludens wrote:

    Dillon Nichols wrote:

    The newest regrowth and the open fields are full of deer browse.



    I think logging or creating selective clearcuts would be vital to providing feeding areas for deer.  Old growth forest typically harbors most wildlife in the high canopy - birds, squirrels, but no deer!  Native people burned forest and grassland to increase game for hunting.

    Martin Crawford talks about how the forest garden must be maintained as a young forest, because a mature forest won't provide much food:  



    You are right regarding this. I had a lot of mature forest, and while there was wildlife, it was limited compared to other landowners around me.

    One thing a person can do though, is "Circle Cut". It is not a clear cut, and not a selective harvest, you just go into a spot in the woods and cut a small circle of the wood out. Not a huge area, maybe a 50 foot diameter circle to let light in by opening up the canopy in one small spot. In a few years it just pops up with diversity. This is when the deer, rabbits, and all kinds of other animals come in. You can still leave the mature forest on the outer edges of it. I got some pictures some where of this technique, and it is actually pretty mind-blowing how effective it is.

    As a member of the American Tree Farm System, I MUST manage for air, water, soil and WILDLIFE, and this was a technique recommended to me by the Maine Forest Service, and it really works.


    Something that I've been thinking about lately as far as a way to monetize some otherwise costly work like this kind of 'circle clearing' you're talking about that has tremendous ecological value but isn't necessarily traditionally valuable, is to find a wood worker to partner with and market and produce 'single tree furniture sets'. I haven't really fleshed it out much yet but I think the idea has some potential to be an income source for forested land holders looking to cover costs/profit while maintaining/ improving the vitality of the land
     
    Travis Johnson
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    s. lowe wrote:Something that I've been thinking about lately as far as a way to monetize some otherwise costly work like this kind of 'circle clearing' you're talking about that has tremendous ecological value but isn't necessarily traditionally valuable, is to find a wood worker to partner with and market and produce 'single tree furniture sets'. I haven't really fleshed it out much yet but I think the idea has some potential to be an income source for forested land holders looking to cover costs/profit while maintaining/ improving the vitality of the land



    Oh it is very effective at that because you do not just log one spot. Assuming there is significant acreage, you would go into a spot, and then circle cut an area, set over an acre or so, and then do so again.

    We did this a lot growing up because back then we only logged to generate a little income. It might be to pay the property taxes, or to pay for Christmas. So in this way we were not cutting a lot, just enough to make a load or two of wood to go to the paper mill. So we would make in-roads to these areas, circle cut, and then might not go back for five years. When we did, we would expand into the edge, and circle cut again. As this happened, the circle cut areas would grow up in young, vibrant growth making the woodlot very varied.

    I have been looking for a few pictures of this, and know I have some, but just cannot find those pictures. When I do, I will post them for everyone.
     
    pollinator
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    Deer and elk do sometimes use mature or old growth forest groves for shelter. But there are species that are specialists on mature forest. They are hard to see or tell they are there. I managed my land to have a lot of edges. The mature trees were long gone before I got there so we planted lots of young natives. It was one of the most enjoyable aspects of managing that land.
    Blackberries, Japanese knotweed, reed canary grass are a few of the super plants that loved any disturbance. So I was careful to try and cover my tracks. It’s not so easy to do however.
     
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    Has anyone read Sprout Lands: Tending the Gift of Endless Trees, by William Bryant Logan?

    https://www.williambryantlogan.com/

    In one section, Logan describes how traditional rural farming practices kept a tree (or forest) young by pruning/pollarding/coppicing to stimulate the cambium layer.
    The forest canopy is opened up, allowing for greater species diversity.

    In another section, he explains how native cultural practices in California developed groves of productive oaks and under-story plants, encouraging a rich population of wildlife.
     
    Jeremy Baker
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    I have not seen that book. So much of the old ways goes unknown and unappreciated in this contemporary culture. I took a class on green woodworking long ago in California.  How to make a amazing chair from limbs.
     
    Ed Waters
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    Its been a while since I read the book.  It is inspiring but if I remember correctly it doesn't go into much detail about how to's.  Talks a lot about burning to improve soil and tree health, I think.  I'm a way from our home base for a while or I would confirm.
     
    Janet Bailey
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    I agree with Jeremy Baker,

    Jeremy Baker wrote:So much of the old ways goes unknown and unappreciated in this contemporary culture. I took a class on green woodworking long ago in California.  How to make a amazing chair from limbs.

    and I think that's my main take-away from Sprouts - that permaculture is a return to the old ways. I've learned so much here about coppicing and pollarding, and am starting my own willow coppices, in a small way, here on our one-acre lot.

    Using sprouted branches from coppices or pollards to feed animals would allow many to keep livestock who could not afford to buy feed. I hope to learn more about this practice!

    And I agree with Ed Waters about needing more how-to detail to go along with the inspiration in Sprouts. We live on property with huge Laurel Oaks here in north Florida. This is not a long-lived species and I'm wondering how they would respond to the renewing action of pruning as they mature. Keeping a woodland young through intelligent pruning would really add peace of mind (along with useful wood) when hurricane season comes around each year!
     
    Ed Waters
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    How well will pollarding work in a warm climate?  As I understand it the best time to pollard is when the tree is dormant and the sap isn't running.
     
    pollinator
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    This may be too interventionist, or on too small a scale:

    Move fallen logs into shade to increase moisture retention for mushroom growth
    propagate ramps, ferns etc into promising areas where they haven't started growing naturally
    (minorly) clear away any choking vegetation from sprouted seedlings
    discreet brush or rock check dams in seasonal waterways to slow/retain runoff (a la Ludi's Brush Dams
    make hidey holes and small brush or rock piles to encourage insect/rodent/reptile habitation
    at end of season, clean up raspberry/blackberry cane areas to provide easier access to new growth
     
    Janet Bailey
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    Ed Waters wrote:How well will pollarding work in a warm climate?  As I understand it the best time to pollard is when the tree is dormant and the sap isn't running.



    In north Florida (USDA zone 8a or 8b), we do get a dormant season. Leaves are falling all around me as I write (from rural Monticello, in Jefferson County, mentioned by bruce Fine earlier in this thread).

    Some of our oaks like Live Oak and Laurel Oak are evergreen, but we also have Turkey Oak and Water Oak on our property, along with Hickory, Maple, Hawthorn, and Black Cherry. We have an abundance of Sassafras, too! Some of these may prove useful as coppices or pollards.

    We started purple willows and basket willows from cuttings (we chose heat-tolerant varieties from Vermont Willow Nursery, https://www.willowsvermont.com/) last fall and set them out this fall. These will be good for coppicing, and the Purple Willow is supposed to be deer-resistant.
     
    Janet Bailey
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    Dustin Rhodes wrote:This may be too interventionist, or on too small a scale:

    Move fallen logs into shade to increase moisture retention for mushroom growth
    propagate ramps, ferns etc into promising areas where they haven't started growing naturally
    (minorly) clear away any choking vegetation from sprouted seedlings
    discreet brush or rock check dams in seasonal waterways to slow/retain runoff (a la Ludi's Brush Dams
    make hidey holes and small brush or rock piles to encourage insect/rodent/reptile habitation
    at end of season, clean up raspberry/blackberry cane areas to provide easier access to new growth



    I love this approach! Success comes more quickly than you would think, and is more long-lasting (I believe) when you observe and work with Nature.
     
    Huxley Harter
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    Janet Bailey wow! I live in Lloyd, just west of Monticello! Nice to know a Permie is near by.
     
    Janet Bailey
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    Huxley Harter wrote:Janet Bailey wow! I live in Lloyd, just west of Monticello! Nice to know a Permie is near by.



    Hello Neighbor!
    We relocated from WV in 2016 and we think Jefferson County is wonderful. Aren't we having a beautiful fall?
    Yes, it's great to know another Permie who is facing the same blessings/challenges of Zone 8 and myakka soil. We're doing hugelkulter and lasagna gardening to help with soil fertility and moisture conservation. We have peaches, oranges, a Meyer Lemon, and a Centennial kumquat that are beginning to bear fruit. We also have a loquat, blueberries, strawberries, and a blackberry that are just getting started. We grow our vegetables from seed and sell plants in the spring. We also focus on growing useful herbs and native plants.
    We set out a dozen cabbage and collard plants last month and we're still picking peppers (it was a good year for them!).
    How's your garden growing?
     
    Huxley Harter
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    Yes it's a great fall. I have a couple hugels and my family has some young citrus. Plenty of failed experiments this summer. The comfrey hated the heat but now is growing out well. I will post some pics tomorrow in this thread: https://permies.com/t/120095/Invincible-Garden
     
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    Location: northern northern california
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    interesting discussion.

    i like the "circle cut" as described, that's a good easy way to sum up selective logging. i suppose it's one type of selective logging, but one which simplifies the idea.

    there's a good middle ground between truly wild land and meadow like park type landscaping, truly wild, thick forest can always use a lot of thinning.
    theres a good middle ground between total "conservation", and clear cut. it is good for the forest to have people tending it on a semi regular basis, by doing things like removing brambles and brush, any standing dead, and limbing the trees. people regularly removing small amounts of the small stuff for wood heat and such...this is a hugely helpful action.

    it also minimizes fire risk, as does these "circle cuts" and other ways of selective logging, or selective burning for fire breaks.

    something else that should be considered is when a forest is selectively harvested, and frequently harvested for small amounts of wood, it grows in much better.  there's small trees, medium ones, and scattered about huge ancient ones, larger paths made and used by humans and animals alike, and all the trees have a lot more room, and more light is let in for other types of plants, more edibles for animals.

    unfortunately, when a forest is clear cut and you have these huge clear cuts...although the growth does come back, it tends to make way for "invasive" type plants and trees, the most opportunistic...and in general - just grow in too thick, all at once.

    since a lot of where people is living is like 3-4 generations of clear cuts later...what grows up if left to it's own, is not as desirable, especially in relation to OP, as the way it grows back tends to be way too thick. so yeah it needs maintenance, and frequent gathering of small trees, and branches, making clearings and meadow like areas here and there...and selective logging.

    maybe it is relevant to also add i know someone who makes their business doing small scale sustainable logging, similar to some of the above discussion. I put it out there as an idea, i think similarly it could be done.
    he makes most of his income running a small scale portable mill, where he goes to an individuals land, cuts trees directly from their land, mills it on site or at his site, and then builds custom designs for them...

    ...they get a deck or a shed or whatever else they want built, with the wood directly harvested from their land, and they also get an area cleared of trees....i know he gets more work then he can possibly get to...and has built all sorts of neat buildings and greenhouses and a lot of nice decks...
     
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    Travis Johnson wrote:I would think...and this kills me to say...but you would have to limit logging. It is a great resource in which to pay those dreaded taxes, but it can be seen even years and years later. No really scarring of the land, but evidence for sure.

    I have a lot of what you list here though.

    I had thought all of our land had been logged (it took from 1746-2018 to do so), but I found an area of our land that escaped the chainsaw, or has so far. It is located about 2 miles from the nearest road, has a stream running through it, and obviously has old growth forest.




    It depends on the wildlife you are looking to attract as some species specifically live in early succession areas.  I would think part of creating this type of space would be developing more than one type of area and maintaining those successional areas through logging.
     
    Wil Odin
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    Loving this conversation, I feel like this is a similar project to my own as I am working to bring back bio-diversity and SIGNIFICANTLY increase the available food sources for wildlife in a local park, that said its hard to find resources as most re-forestation efforts involve restoring clear cut or mining areas

    Its an unusual park as its about 300+ acres on the outskirts of the city center, of which most of it is wild and since its so large there is actually a decent wildlife population.  Unfortunately there was zippo land mgmt as local P&R was, and is, underfunded AND this was a park in a low income area so, naturally -_- , it was neglected and now its at risk of becoming of a monoculture with only tree of heaven and bush honeysuckle.

    I was wondering if anyone here had any experience with adding back in native undergrowth (herbaceous, shrub, and under-story layers were all basically wiped out) back into a landscape when there are still a decent number of mature trees.  This problem has been going on for decades so I don't know that there is even much of a seed bank left, and since its very steep in many places I don't want to leave it bare for long.
     
    Huxley Harter
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    I know a guy who has a business running pigs through forest to remove invasive and turn up the seed bank. Great Southern Forestry is his company based in Florida.
     
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