• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Question for Allen about Sunlight in a Forest

 
Jared Williams
Posts: 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Allen, what an honor it is to be asking you a personal question about permaculture! Your work is brilliant and we all are very thankful you are taking some of your precious time to help us answer our questions.

So my wife and I have a newly purchased property on 5 acres of densely-wooded forest with a high canopy of tall/thin Pine trees which stand about 80 feet. Much of the day's light is robbed from the vegetation on the ground, but we really want to install a food-forest and herb garden system. All too often, we see homeowners massacring large amounts of forest to get more sunlight to the desired area, without concern to what effects it has on the overall environment. Is there a way to study the sun's path, only taking down trees that are in this direct path? Or is it best to simply thin out existing trees to allow more light to reach the soil?

We are desperately trying to figure out what is the best strategy in getting the most out of our situation, while maintaining the forest's natural beauty. Also, if you don't mind me asking, do you have any other suggestions that would steer us in the right direction? We don't want to chop down the whole forest just to get more sunlight, but we want to be able to sustain our own vegetables and spices at the same time.

Thanks again!
 
Allan Savory
Author
Posts: 42
44
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
frankly I am at a loss on this one. Only thing I can think of is for you to track down Chris Maser if you can (author of excellent books that greatly impressed me) and see if has advice. I have not been in touch with him for some time and last email address I had was maserc@peak.org so do not even know if he is close to you. Sorry I cannot be of more help with such a localized matter out of my experience.
 
Emily Brown
Posts: 61
Location: Maine
11
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'll jump in here because this has been on my mind.

Are you looking at a pine tree monocrop? If so it is man made and I wouldn't think twice about replacing it with a polyculture.

That said I recently purchased some wild forest and here are some of my strategies:

1. Clear out any clearings or patches where light is streaming through.

2. Use vines to catch the sunlight.

3. A forest pond or two will thrive in the shade.

4. Shade crops won't meet all your needs but you can grow a lot more than just mushrooms.

http://www.pfaf.org/user/plantsearch.aspx
 
Natasha Turner
Posts: 33
Location: Kentucky knob region
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Jared Williams wrote:. . . my wife and I have a newly purchased property on 5 acres of densely-wooded forest with a high canopy of tall/thin Pine trees which stand about 80 feet. Much of the day's light is robbed from the vegetation on the ground, but we really want to install a food-forest and herb garden system. All too often, we see homeowners massacring large amounts of forest to get more sunlight to the desired area, without concern to what effects it has on the overall environment. . . .

We are desperately trying to figure out what is the best strategy in getting the most out of our situation, while maintaining the forest's natural beauty. Also, if you don't mind me asking, do you have any other suggestions that would steer us in the right direction? We don't want to chop down the whole forest just to get more sunlight, but we want to be able to sustain our own vegetables and spices at the same time.


Hey Jared, you'll never guess what geoff lawton gave as an example in his online PDC that I'm taking right now! I copied it down, so I could write it out for you. I thought you might get some inspiration.

"You've got a client who says: 'I've got a five acre property full of pine trees. I'd like to diversify the property and put in a one acre fish pond with acid-loving crops around the edge (blueberry bushes mulched with pine needles). What do you think?' [He then draws a picture of a square property with a square pond in the middle, edged with blueberry bushes.]

"Permaculture Consultant (Geoff): 'It's not a bad way to think, but you really missed out on patterning. We can give you twice as many blueberries and quite a few more fish without losing any more pine trees. [He draws a picture of the same square property but this time with a pond in the middles that looks like a paint splat with 'fingers' coming out of the edges and still edged with blueberry bushes.] A pond like this is easier to build. The fish feed from the edge. Some parts will be nice and shady. There is twice as much space to plant blueberries, but there are still four acres of pines. Through edge and diversity, you extend the potential productivity.'

"If edge can be put in as patterning that harvests nutrient, that harvests water, that reduces stress on the landscape, creates buffers and windbreaks, creates organic matter, increases the stability in your environment, the benefits start multiplying over the area without losing anything on other elements. Patterning is an enormous opportunity to increase what's possible. Some elements prefer to grow in particular edges."

Anyway, let me know what you think. If you think it helped, I can keep my ears open for more ideas during the course. All the Best, Natasha
 
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!