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Restoring clear-cut forests

 
Lenny Johnson
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My property is less than a mile from a clear-cut forest, and it recently occurred to me that we may be able to restore these damaged landscapes in a way that sets up future energy security while preventing erosion on mountain slopes. We could plant strips of nut trees as sources of biofuel, interspersed with alleys for grazing. These lands could be managed on long-term leases, and perhaps at no cost at all given the reparative work being done.

The big drawback is that this would radically alter the native landscape, although I think it could be designed so that native tree species like Douglas Fir and Western Red Cedar eventually outgrow and supplant biofuel crops like butternut and chestnut. I'm thinking specifically of British Columbia here but of course the idea would work anywhere.

It's just a thought at this stage. Seems like a good opportunity. Does anyone have any ideas or concerns?

Cheers,
Lenny
 
Landon Sunrich
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I Watch and walk a lot of clearcuts around here. Seems like more often the not the first thing up in them is a field of foxglove and then the elderberries and salmon berries and alder start popping up in pretty short order. And trailing blackcap and thimble-berries. And hopefully not Himalayan blackberries. I like all of those plants but the. The alder particularly. Though I could definitely see ways of managing regrowth in a way that is much more suited to human production (mowing downs strips of salmonberry et all for alley cropping) and adding in some interesting new stuff (some walnuts here, some hazels there, or whatever) in a way which does not radically alter the established native ecological succession. Unless your in a super wet spot the ceders aren't too likely to pop up right away anyway in the middle of a bright baked clear cut. That's been my observation anyway
 
Dave Burton
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Location: Greater Houston, TX US Hardy:9a Annual Precipitation: 44.78" Wind:13.23mph Temperature:42.5-95F
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Lenny, that is a very cool idea. However, I think it would be more useful to grow food forests on clear cut land than to grow crops for biofuel because a local food forest would provide lots of food, habitat, community, and beauty. An interplanting of biofuel crops could provide some of these benefits; I just think food forests are cooler!
 
Michael Qulek
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Ummm, who owns this property? I assume that you are not the legal owner. If some stranger walked onto your land and started planting what they thought should grow there, what would be your reaction?
 
Dave Burton
pollinator
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Location: Greater Houston, TX US Hardy:9a Annual Precipitation: 44.78" Wind:13.23mph Temperature:42.5-95F
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Either way, this makes for a good discussion topic; what to do with degraded land?
If the land is under the care of a local, state, or federal government management, it would be very cool and help get permaculture out there in the public if you came up to the manager of the land and politely introduced yourself with your idea of how to restore the land and make it productive for humans and wildlife. If you're up for this, you're in the right place to discuss ideas on how to introduce oneself, how to observe the land, how to create a design, how to implement your idea, and how to evaluate the results.

If it is managed by a private company, they will probably be very open minded when you mention how money and the community can come together.

If you own the land, epic cool!

No matter the option, I would love to hear more of what people think!
 
Lenny Johnson
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Michael Qulek wrote:Ummm, who owns this property? I assume that you are not the legal owner. If some stranger walked onto your land and started planting what they thought should grow there, what would be your reaction?


It's Crown (government) for the most part. I'm not talking about doing anything without permission. As I said, it would be done on long-term leases.
 
Lenny Johnson
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Landon Sunrich wrote:I Watch and walk a lot of clearcuts around here. Seems like more often the not the first thing up in them is a field of foxglove and then the elderberries and salmon berries and alder start popping up in pretty short order. And trailing blackcap and thimble-berries. And hopefully not Himalayan blackberries. I like all of those plants but the. The alder particularly. Though I could definitely see ways of managing regrowth in a way that is much more suited to human production (mowing downs strips of salmonberry et all for alley cropping) and adding in some interesting new stuff (some walnuts here, some hazels there, or whatever) in a way which does not radically alter the established native ecological succession. Unless your in a super wet spot the ceders aren't too likely to pop up right away anyway in the middle of a bright baked clear cut. That's been my observation anyway


Hazels would be interesting. They're native and have fairly high oil content for something like biodiesel. With some breeding for oil yield they might be even better.

I just think that would be so much better than something like ethanol. The idea of using perfectly good farmland to grow fuel is insane. But growing fuel in a clearcut? Maybe that's not so bad.
 
Lenny Johnson
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Dave Burton wrote:Lenny, that is a very cool idea. However, I think it would be more useful to grow food forests on clear cut land than to grow crops for biofuel because a local food forest would provide lots of food, habitat, community, and beauty. An interplanting of biofuel crops could provide some of these benefits; I just think food forests are cooler!


I'm with you there, but the areas I'm thinking of are remote and mountainous with limited access. So habitat and community wouldn't be foremost on the list. Growing food still would be though!
 
J D Horn
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Lots of cheap land in the South that is cutover from pine timber harvest. $900-$1200/acre, sometimes less. Pulp and lumber prices are fairly low, so I suspect that if you planted the pine for retirement and your kids do not want to pony up and replant, then liquidation is the only option. I have thought that its a prime opportunity to come in and buy up sizable tracts with an eye towards putting in a dynamic food/timber stand cash flowed by multispecies livestock in the early years of development. At any rate, anything is healthier than the "pine deserts" that the large timber strectches create.
 
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