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Changing Pine to Food Forest

 
Daniel Ray
Posts: 63
Location: Stevensville, Montana; Zone 4b
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I have 5 acres that slopes steeply East. the lower 2/3 of the property is pine forest typical of Western Montana, mostly Ponderosa. Ideally I would like to add some diversity to this area of the property, but am unsure about taking down trees and trying to replace them with things like black locust which would be a beneficial long term wood source. The upper portion of the property is very diverse with a constant supply of ground water from a seepage spring that feeds several ponds already.

I was thinking that if I took small sections of pine out to use for building I could start creating a terraced pond system down the hillside and have the water (full of nutrients from above) improve soil conditions in the cleared pine areas. Any thoughts?

The photos show the ponds at the top of the property and the type of pine forest located down the slope from them.
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Barb Sowers
Posts: 1
Location: Missoula, MT
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You did not mention whether you own the water rights to the ponds or not. Unfortunately, in western Montana, legally that is something to consider.
 
Daniel Ray
Posts: 63
Location: Stevensville, Montana; Zone 4b
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There is ditch water at the very top of the property that I do not have rights to. However, the water in question that feeds the ponds and which I would use lower down on the property is a high water table that has otherwise not been used by the previous owner. The ponds are only there because the previous land owner put a french drain in to keep his building site from flooding, otherwise the water just seeps back into the mountain side and is not used for anything. The rights to the water are just owned by Montana, basically like using a swale system to catch precipitation runoff. The water would stay on my property longer, but wouldn't go anywhere different.
 
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