• Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

How to grow a forest really, really fast

 
nancy sutton
gardener
Posts: 582
Location: Federal Way, WA - Western Washington (Zone 8 - temperate maritime)
12
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Apologies if this has already been posted. I figure it has, but just in case not.... (very deep biomass is kind of like buried hugel)

https://medium.com/ted-fellows/how-to-grow-a-forest-really-really-fast-d27df202ba09

 
Dave Burton
pollinator
Posts: 1026
Location: Greater Houston, TX US Hardy:9a Annual Precipitation: 44.78" Wind:13.23mph Temperature:42.5-95F
108
bike books forest garden tiny house transportation urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Am I missing something? I love his idea, and the talk is great! I am just a little confused when he said that he is letting the project take a life of its own so anyone could do it themselves. I tried searching for the Afforestt software or platform but have not found it yet. Does anyone have a link to it?
 
nancy sutton
gardener
Posts: 582
Location: Federal Way, WA - Western Washington (Zone 8 - temperate maritime)
12
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think this is the website - http://www.afforestt.com/index.html
 
Viola Schultz
Posts: 14
Location: Zone 6 Hudson Valley
books dog hugelkultur
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Are there Miyawaki forests growing in the United States, in the North East specifically? This got me so excited for I am in a place where a fast growing, NATIVE SPECIES only forest could do soooo much good! I would like to ask all you good & smart people of the planet Permies, for help with resources online or elsewhere or anything that could help me start a little, at first, project in the post industrial wasteland adjacent to where I live now.
 
Abe Connally
Posts: 1502
Location: Chihuahua Desert
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I was about to post this article, but saw it here.

Here's some info on his method: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akira_Miyawaki

It basically involves doing a lot of research on local soils and possible species, amending soils with local organic matter, setting up a nursery, so you are planting large saplings, planting trees very dense,, caring fro the first 2-3 years, and then letting the positive feedback loop do its thing.

I think this is worth testing in North America, and especially desert regions. If something like this could be replicated in dry areas, this would go a long way towards the much needed Food Forests in dry climates.
 
Abe Connally
Posts: 1502
Location: Chihuahua Desert
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
 
David Goodman
gardener
Posts: 496
Location: Zone 9a/8b
21
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This is awesome. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I've been stacking things on top of each other in my food forest, starting and sticking cuttings tightly and scattering seeds. I am convinced that dense biomass is the way to go. Very encouraging to see this WORKING!
 
Peter Ellis
Posts: 1268
Location: Central New Jersey
34
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Viola Schultz wrote:Are there Miyawaki forests growing in the United States, in the North East specifically? This got me so excited for I am in a place where a fast growing, NATIVE SPECIES only forest could do soooo much good! I would like to ask all you good & smart people of the planet Permies, for help with resources online or elsewhere or anything that could help me start a little, at first, project in the post industrial wasteland adjacent to where I live now.


You got my attention with the emphasis on Native Species. It is something that bothers me, especially in a situation like this. It is not possible to grow a northern East Coast primordial forest anymore. Why? Because some of the foundation species, American Chestnut and Elm, are no longer viable due to disease. So we cannot reproduce the native forests of our region with native species.

This means a forest limited to only native species cannot develop to its natural mature form, because there are elements missing. But if you are going to try to restore forests, you want them to completely develop...

And so it becomes important to consider options for filling roles that can no longer be fulfilled by the original native species. Hybrid chestnuts, for example. I do not know what would take the place of elm. But this analysis needs to be part of a discussion about growing a native forest, or other similar projects. Are there viable native species with which to build a complete replicated ecosystem? If not, what can be brought in to fill the missing roles?

Nature moves life around all the time, redistributing, changing ranges. Look at the place where she was most limited in that regard, Australia, and see how distinct from other parts of the world the life is there -and how comparably the rest of the world is rather uniform.
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3646
Location: Vermont, off grid for 22 years!
78
bee chicken fungi solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator


It's not really that different from geoff lawton's approach except that he plants support trees to be taken out later.

 
Abe Connally
Posts: 1502
Location: Chihuahua Desert
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Geoff is planting food trees, many of which are not native. Miyawaki's method involves species that already grow in the area, to reduce care needed. Miyawaki is very adament about using locally native trees, only, whereas Geoff uses trees with a specific use or product.

But yes, their planting methods are similar.
 
nancy sutton
gardener
Posts: 582
Location: Federal Way, WA - Western Washington (Zone 8 - temperate maritime)
12
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
What caught my attention was the 'addition' of local biomass.. to a depth of 1 meter, and the width of the entire area. This would seem to require heavy earth moving equipment... or a team of human diggers
 
Abe Connally
Posts: 1502
Location: Chihuahua Desert
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
nancy sutton wrote:What caught my attention was the 'addition' of local biomass.. to a depth of 1 meter, and the width of the entire area. This would seem to require heavy earth moving equipment... or a team of human diggers


I wonder if the low-tech way would be to just pile woodchips/biomass/compost on the surface? maybe 1/3 meter thick?
 
Viola Schultz
Posts: 14
Location: Zone 6 Hudson Valley
books dog hugelkultur
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Peter, thank you for your answer.
If I understood anything, fast forest method accommodates 'natural selection' of some species. the principle is to plant it densely with suitable species and I think there's enough native species that will survive and be way more useful and beautiful than an aggressive Norway Maple, eg. On the other hand, I am pretty ignorant in the topic.

Cheers, V.
 
Marcin Jakubowski
Posts: 16
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I don't know of a Miyawaki Method project in the USA - but the first one is happening at our site - Factor e Farm, Missouri - on September 4-6, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-aU4H0nVCiY -Marcin
 
Rose Gardener
Posts: 45
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Abe Connally wrote:I was about to post this article, but saw it here.

Here's some info on his method: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akira_Miyawaki

It basically involves doing a lot of research on local soils and possible species, amending soils with local organic matter, setting up a nursery, so you are planting large saplings, planting trees very dense,, caring fro the first 2-3 years, and then letting the positive feedback loop do its thing.

I think this is worth testing in North America, and especially desert regions. If something like this could be replicated in dry areas, this would go a long way towards the much needed Food Forests in dry climates.


That is an interesting thought, but in arid desert, one wonders if such dense planting could work?
 
Marcin Jakubowski
Posts: 16
2
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I searched a bit after I posted yesterday, and it appears 2 Miyawaki Method plantouts have already occurred in the USA, care of Toyota corporates - Kentucky and Missouri:

http://www.toyodagosei.com/tgafforestation/

Very interesting. So ours looks like it will be the third planting. We will document it carefully - it would be good to find documentation of the results from the Toyota projects.

Marcin
 
Stephen Mayer
Posts: 10
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Two interesting things ... 1) they amend the soil and 2( they plant really close together in a random pattern. I'm curious about how they do #1. They also use a wide variety of plants (biodiversity) in a small area. The results are amazing ... I'm thinking of using this model for our food forest too ...
 
Abe Connally
Posts: 1502
Location: Chihuahua Desert
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Rose Gardener wrote:
That is an interesting thought, but in arid desert, one wonders if such dense planting could work?

I think it could work, but you need support structure, like swales and collection basins, etc. Maybe at the base of a decent bowl or arroyo.
 
James Everett
Posts: 65
Location: Gaines County, Texas South of Seminole, Tx zone 7b
3
dog greening the desert trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
@Rose Gardener and Abe Connally. In my part of west Texas this is something I am going to be looking at doing. I have 30 acres and working on grown covers right now and as soon as I can get funds I will be working on Water support layers. But only me working on this will be a slow process.
 
Steve Farmer
Posts: 365
Location: South Tenerife, Canary Islands (Spain)
2
forest garden greening the desert trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Peter Ellis wrote:
... no longer viable due to disease. So we cannot reproduce the native forests of our region with native species...


I've wondered about this, and it's only my intuition so could be wrong, but aren't these diseases a result of monocropping these trees? If you plant thousands of trees of a single type in close proximity, especially if they are from cuttings so are biologically undiverse, then when a nasty comes along that likes that type of tree, it gets the lot.

If you scatter 5 elms in an area containing ten thousand trees, what are the chances that even one elm will get dutch elm disease? I don't know but I guess it's very low. So the point would be to plant as many different types of tree as possible (and other non tree plants too). And if something does die, then adios, whatever killed it has just killed its food source and will die too if there aren't many of the same species in proximity.
 
Steve Farmer
Posts: 365
Location: South Tenerife, Canary Islands (Spain)
2
forest garden greening the desert trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm sure this afforest system works, and I can learn from aspects of it like the importance of planting densely, choosing the correct species, and emphasising diversity. The problem comes with the excavating and amending soil. I'd like to forest my land in this way, but I don't have the resources to pay for the works.

Let's say I could afford to dig out half an acre of my land, and import 1.6 acre feet of organic matter. I still wouldn't do it. I'd rather use the same amount of money and effort to forest 10 acres without the excavation work using species that will grow in the poor ground I already have. Why should I use diesel and money to break rock when there are plants out there whose roots will break up rock for free? Yes the afforest system will do it twice or 3x as quick but my way will give me twenty times more forest.

Maybe I'm wrong and my 10 acres would all fail and would have been better with half an acre of success, but it seems like a humungous amount of prep work.

I guess I should do a test, take a small patch and amend it to a metre deep, measure the cost of doing so, and put a similar amount of resources into another larger patch, and see where we are 5 yrs later.
 
Abe Connally
Posts: 1502
Location: Chihuahua Desert
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Steve Farmer wrote:I'm sure this afforest system works, and I can learn from aspects of it like the importance of planting densely, choosing the correct species, and emphasising diversity. The problem comes with the excavating and amending soil. I'd like to forest my land in this way, but I don't have the resources to pay for the works.

Let's say I could afford to dig out half an acre of my land, and import 1.6 acre feet of organic matter. I still wouldn't do it. I'd rather use the same amount of money and effort to forest 10 acres without the excavation work using species that will grow in the poor ground I already have. Why should I use diesel and money to break rock when there are plants out there whose roots will break up rock for free? Yes the afforest system will do it twice or 3x as quick but my way will give me twenty times more forest.

Maybe I'm wrong and my 10 acres would all fail and would have been better with half an acre of success, but it seems like a humungous amount of prep work.

I guess I should do a test, take a small patch and amend it to a metre deep, measure the cost of doing so, and put a similar amount of resources into another larger patch, and see where we are 5 yrs later.


There's a lot of variables to this, so hard to tell. But, intensive plantings at high density, even on small plots, can really outproduce sparse plantings that cover many acres. The surface area exposed to elements are greatly reduced in dense plantings. 20 trees in a small space are easier to care for and water, as well.

Another thing to consider is this is for the pioneers. You don't do this across a whole acre, you do it in strips across the acre with big empty spaces in between, and the forest will gradually expand to fill that space.

That being said, this is certainly very climate specific, and I don't know of an example of this in a dry climate.
 
John Stannum
Posts: 9
Location: NSW Australia
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I am wondering about the soil amendments. Would a polyculture cover crop of pasture, legumes, herbs, flowers, vegetables be a cheaper path to preparing the soil for the forest?
 
Peter Ellis
Posts: 1268
Location: Central New Jersey
34
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Steve Farmer wrote:
Peter Ellis wrote:
... no longer viable due to disease. So we cannot reproduce the native forests of our region with native species...


I've wondered about this, and it's only my intuition so could be wrong, but aren't these diseases a result of monocropping these trees? If you plant thousands of trees of a single type in close proximity, especially if they are from cuttings so are biologically undiverse, then when a nasty comes along that likes that type of tree, it gets the lot.

If you scatter 5 elms in an area containing ten thousand trees, what are the chances that even one elm will get dutch elm disease? I don't know but I guess it's very low. So the point would be to plant as many different types of tree as possible (and other non tree plants too). And if something does die, then adios, whatever killed it has just killed its food source and will die too if there aren't many of the same species in proximity.


Sorry to be so late responding. There's a ton of historical record on this stuff, Steve. Elm in the USA today are a rarity, when they were once wide spread and common. Those still appearing either succumb to the blight eventually, are somehow in a pocket where it has not appeared, or actually have resistance. American chestnut still try to grow, but so far no pure strain American chestnut have appeared resistant to the chestnut blight. This was a tree that absolutely dominated the forests of the eastern half of the US before the blight came along. Now, stumps will still send up shoots, but they die back before reproducing. Efforts to produce resistant hybrids by crossing with Asiatic varieties have been going on for some time, with varying success. The American Chestnut was an enormous tree, known as the Eastern Redwood. It would occur in mammoth groves that were, effectively, naturally occurring monocultures.

But both elm and chestnut fell victim to disease and, so far, there just is no way to bring them back. All of which means, it is not an option to regrow our native forests as they were when Europeans arrived.
 
Peter Ellis
Posts: 1268
Location: Central New Jersey
34
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
John Johnsonson wrote:I am wondering about the soil amendments. Would a polyculture cover crop of pasture, legumes, herbs, flowers, vegetables be a cheaper path to preparing the soil for the forest?


That would generally create a bacterial dominated soil food web, suitable for grasses and not suitable for forests. It would need something to push the microbiology over to the fungal dominant side to prepare for the trees.

Probably part of what happens by planting the trees really densely is that it favors the fungal development, which then favors the trees. (chicken - egg ? )
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3646
Location: Vermont, off grid for 22 years!
78
bee chicken fungi solar trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Peter Ellis wrote:American chestnut still try to grow, but so far no pure strain American chestnut have appeared resistant to the chestnut blight. This was a tree that absolutely dominated the forests of the eastern half of the US before the blight came along. Now, stumps will still send up shoots, but they die back before reproducing. Efforts to produce resistant hybrids by crossing with Asiatic varieties have been going on for some time, with varying success. The American Chestnut was an enormous tree, known as the Eastern Redwood. It would occur in mammoth groves that were, effectively, naturally occurring monocultures.

But both elm and chestnut fell victim to disease and, so far, there just is no way to bring them back. All of which means, it is not an option to regrow our native forests as they were when Europeans arrived.


Phil Rutter has done an amazing job of trying to bring back the American Chestnut without using Asiatic crosses.
An amazing 2 part podcast about Chestnuts and Hazelnuts: http://www.permaculturevoices.com/woody-agriculture-breeding-trees-restoring-a-piece-of-americas-past-and-establishing-a-piece-of-our-agricultural-future-with-phil-rutter-part-1-pvp057/
 
  • Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic