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What would you do with 20 acres of wooded land?

 
wes kul
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I just got a big property and about 20 or so acres is wooded, located on the side of a hill, maybe 20% grade slope. It's in eastern kentucky and faces east.

I don't want to cut it down or anything. I'll be living here fulltime. Another 10 acres is relatively clear which will include some pasture garden etc. My friend says it'll be a good permaculture environment. Any ideas or suggestions?
 
Alder Burns
pollinator
Posts: 1331
Location: northern California
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I would do nothing with it for a year at least, except maybe gather some firewood and wild mushrooms...... Deal with your homesite and basic garden and other stuff on the open land first, and use the woods mostly for observation....learn the plants, the trees, the fungi, the insects, and so on. A big benefit of this is you give yourself a chance to find out if there are any rare or valuable species in there that need careful preservation and encouragement before barging in and doing something drastic. This is especially the case if the woods are fairly old and mature.....
 
Ken Peavey
steward
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Location: FL
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All kinds of things you can do without disturbing the woodlands.
-Identify fruit and nut trees. In an area that size, chances are pretty good you've got some groceries growing.
-Identify your sugar maples. Come late winter, tap them for maple syrup.
-Gather up fallen biomass. Be it leaves for compost and leaf mold or logs for the fireplace. The compostables you can pile up around the place, go get it when its ready to use. Chances are there are some spots with a thick layer of leaf mold already built up over the years. This can be mined for use in cultivation projects.
-Watch the drainage patterns in the spring. You don't need any surprises. Small creeks can become raging rivers. Low areas can become lakes.
-Keep an eye out for game trails.
-I've seen estimates of 1/2 cord of firewood per acre being a sustainable harvest rate per year. If you like good old fashioned hard work, there's 10 acres of firewood to work with each year.
-Be sure to read up on hugelkulture.
-mushrooms can be grown in a forest, check out the fungi forum
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5555
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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bike chicken fungi trees urban woodworking
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We have forty acres of woodland and do much of what Alder and Ken mentioned...over the years we are still discovering more and more. We also harvest some trees for my husband's woodworking and logs for shiitakes. Paths just naturally happen and we maintain some of them as walking trails. We found Chanterelles several years after we moved here.
 
S Bengi
Posts: 1355
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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With a 10 acre home site I would never have the time or money to touch the additional 20 acres forest.
I suppose you could hunt there, grow mushroom, and steal biomass/leaves/deadlogs for you 10 acre home site.
If it has a stream going through it I guess you could build a pond and fish there or take some of the water to your 10 acre homesite
 
wayne stephen
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Posts: 1793
Location: Western Kentucky-Climate Unpredictable Zone 6b
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Reintroduce Sang , Yellow Root , Wild Ginger , Cohosh . Of course do not let anyone know unless you can stand guard over it 24 hours a day.
 
Fred Morgan
steward
Posts: 979
Location: Northern Zone, Costa Rica - 200 to 300 meters Tropical Humid Rainforest
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One site that will give you ideas is this one http://timbergreenforestry.com/ I really have admired his concept, and understand, I have about 5 times more land, and forest than he does, but he is slowly improving his forest, while making money off it. Many people have 200 acres of neglected forest, and can't seem to survive, he is thriving from what I can see.

 
S Bengi
Posts: 1355
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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You could transplant from container, bareroot, bulb, maybe even seed, Alot of shade loving groundcover, bulbs, vines, berries and trees plant.
Such as onion/garlic ramps, alpine strawberry, artic kiwi, Schisandra Vine, honeyberry, etc, and in clearings you could plant pawpaw, blackberry, juneberry, cornelian cherry, etc

I get alot of forest plants from these guys.
http://www.onegreenworld.com//index.php?cPath=6_150

Check out this website enter heavy shade/etc and it will tell you which plants will grow.
http://practicalplants.org/wiki/Practical_Plants


 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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you might want to check out pauls threads on HUSP in these forums (do a search)
 
wes kul
Posts: 6
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Thanks everyone for the good information. I think there must be some small creek/ drainage because the wooded area drops 400 ft. Maybe I can dam a creek and install a ram pump, have to watch it first.

For the first year I'll probably work with the nonwooded area, I like root vegetables, squash, greenbeans, and I'll grow about anything I can since I'm vegetarian. I think I'll try beekeeping as well though I heard its tough. I like the concept of hugelkulture so I should be able to have that from the wooded land as well. I will be using a woodstove in a small cabin. I like that timber green video. I may try some of that to build my cabin with, save a few hundred dollars. This property has been in the same family since 1880 so I may be the first new owner, don't want to mess up the natural beauty.
 
S Bengi
Posts: 1355
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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With a top bar bee hive you only have to visit it once a year Aug. with just 1 hive you get to harvest over 50lbs of honey.
You should really aim for two hives. That way you have some redundancy and you can do some natural selection.

You could probably let some turkey/pheasant/bird wild into the forest. Semi feed them and hunt them later.
Still 10 acres for 2-3 to manage is way too much.much less focusing on 20 more acres.

I guess you could invite people on your land with a 1-7 year lease or something.
Then they could learn/practice/harvest and improve your land.
 
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