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? for Eric about conifer forests

 
Michael Newby
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Location: Mount Shasta, CA Zone 8a Mediterranean climate
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Hi Eric,

First, thanks for thinking of us and spending some time answering our questions. I've read/own edible forest gardens and I have to say it's one of my go-to books for design strategies. I'm really looking forward to reading your new Carbon Farming Solution book.

Do you have any specific strategies for dealing with the relatively young volcanic soil and conifer forests you find mainly from the rocky mountains and points west? I deal with a lot of land owners out here who have 10-1000 acres of timberland that was managed for 1 or 2 species (usually Ponderosa Pine and Douglas Fir) with very little thought given to any type of support species or diversity development. I personally live on the flank of a cinder cone that was formed ~9,000 years ago, a geological baby compared to those 480 million year old hills they call the Appalachians out east.
 
Eric Toensmeier
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Dear Michael,

I don't have any specific strategies for that specific challenge, as it is a book for the entire planet and only 500 pages long. However a number of the strategies I include deal with regeneration of degraded lands, which sounds very much like your situation. All the strategies we know in permaculture for improved annual cropping like cover crops, compost, crop rotation, mulching, biointensive are all relevant. Adding perennial elements like coppiced nitrogen fixing trees can also be very helpful. Managed grazing, or even better manage grazing with trees Incorporated is another strategy. Finally edible reforestation with lots of support species, a strategy we like to call the food forest in our movement, is another one of my work.

Eric
 
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