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Biome, according to Mark Shepard...

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I'm reading Mark Shepard's Restoration Agriculture. The more I read, the more I'm confused on what a biome really is. A biome is evidently essential to creating a domestic replica / functioning ecosystem that jives with pre-colonial models. Alright, I get that.

Mark Shepard says his biome is Oak Savanna. Then at another point, he refers to it as just Savanna. Then I go on the internet and look at a map of biomes and there is no such thing as Oak Savanna. Plain Savanna is found basically and mostly in Africa. Wisconsin (where he lives) and central MO (where I live) are both in the deciduous forest biome. Okay. Then on wikipedia, we are either a temperate steppe or a temperate broadleaf forest.

Is he crazy? Am I dumb? Where's the consistency? And what biome am I actually in (Jefferson City, MO, right in the center of the state)?

Posts: 3653
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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Oaks are deciduous. They were the primary tree in their forests. That is bing more specific for his area. Yours was probably white oak or osage, but probably had more diversity than his due to climate.

Savanna has more edge, it has more open space than a true forest. It is a good approximation for what the transition from forest to plains was like. It also has much more space for "crops." It is not 100% true to the history for that area, but is close enough to be self-supporting and tuned to be more productive to the farmer's needs. Change the species to ones with more profitable yields but still fill the same role in the biome. Adjust the spacing and density to fit some mechanization. Not 100% correct to history, not 100% bent to the will of modern agriculture--but a synergistic balance between the two.
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Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
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Here is a wiki entry explicitly naming the american savanna: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_forest-grasslands_transition
Here is a wiki entry listing savanna in cali, great plain, brazil, etc, etc: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Savanna#Savanna_ecoregions

What is a savanna: it is the transition from forest to grassland/desert.
Another word for savanna is prairie/steppe that gets 24 inch to 39 inch of rain.

I understand your confusion with the english language, it happens to me too, is it a hurricane/cyclone/typhoon/weather system.
Posts: 93
Location: New England
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There are various maps for certain different distinctions. In the US, ecoregions is a good start. In these regions are biomes, which include different land in these regions. Like a Oak Savannah or a Mixed Deciduous Trees. These biomes might be present in other places in the world, with different species makeup's. In these biomes are native plants, which thrive in these areas. Depending where you live in the ecoregion will show the biomes that are present where you live.



Posts: 7
Location: Granite Falls, WA
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Hey all -

I'm also trying to dig into Shepard's work. Dave (or anyone else) - what's the relationship between an "ecoregion" and a biome?

Really what I'm trying to figure out is how to use this information. My farm is in Granite Falls, WA - so definitely coniferous if it was left to be feral. However, I heard there is evidence that before the plagues wiped out the local native populations, most likely people maintained a deciduous forest biome, not a coniferous. My understanding is our climate can support either, but one has more food. The wild areas will grow woody fuel with no effort.

I've also heard sadly our Big Leaf Maples - mostly much further west - are in decline and biologists don't know why. If for no other reason than diversity, it might be good to put in more deciduous plants.

Thanks for the advice,

Trillium Farm
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Location: Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Eco-region is short for Ecological Region, you have to go back in time, to before the Europeans came to Turtle Island to find out what your true Eco-region is.

A Biome is the biological environment pre-settlement (again, back in time to before the European Invasion)
You can work within the current biome but right now it is in flux (changing all the time per the climatic change cycle we are currently in).

Arkansas (example) has a biome that is Hardwood forest to the north, Pine forest to the west, prairie/ savanna to the south then further south you get into swamp forest.

There isn't any U.S. State that has only one biome, most have at least four. No state has just one Eco-region either.

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