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Virginia Monoculture Pine Farm Permaculture Conversion?  RSS feed

 
Posts: 21
Location: Zone 7a, 42", Fairfax VA Piedmont (Glenelg silt loam, acidic, shady)
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I have a hypothetical/newbie question about buying monoculture pine farms for conversion to permaculture.  This 77 acre property is $282k and they claim that the 60 acres of Lobolly pine is worth $113k.  If true, I could get mostly cleared land for about $2k/acre, which is outrageously cheap for this area (horse country, old money, decent proximity to good-paying white collar jobs in Charlottesville, VA).  Land in this area is usually 5-10 times that much per acre.

https://www.landsofamerica.com/property/NOT-ON-FILE-Gordonsville-Virginia-22942/5252551?

Pros: Price, Location, Disruption (no trees to clear/blank slate), Flat
Cons: Compaction from heavy machinery, acidic soils, erosion potential, minimal organic matter/topsoil (judging from reddish soil color).  However, maybe compaction isn't that much of a con (https://permies.com/t/60688/Soil-compaction-due-Bobcat).  Note that even though it's a mono-culture, there's some riparian land with a lot of non-conifer diversity.

After the clear cut I'd plan on running goats on parts of it to keep brush down, hopefully being able to till and seed parts of it with cover crops.  I'd try to keep animals out of the riparian areas.  Over time I'd hope to establish pasture, plant the borders for privacy and wind-breaks, start some food forests with honey locusts, other N-fixers. Presumably I'd be using acid-loving plants like blueberries.  There are wetlands and a creek, with potential for a pond.  I imagine the soil is going to need a lot of animal activity, over-seeding, potential amendments ($$?), and mechanical inputs (tractor, tilling) to get it to a point where it will support food forests and silvopasture.  I'd want to have the machinery, seeds, and expertise lined up ahead of time to get something in the soil as soon as possible after the cut.  I'd think late winter (when the ground is hard) would be the best time to clear it.  Then you would till and seed in the spring. 

The trees are not huge - maybe 18 inches DBH?

I'm not seriously considering buying the property at this time, but down the road something along these lines might be very attractive.  It'd be the cheapest way for me to get a lot of land that also allows me to work a conventional office job while I move towards a farming lifestyle.  BTW, I also researched https://permies.com/t/30475/Restoring-cut-heavily-logged-land

Am I on the right track, or am I being silly and naive?  Let me know in the replies!
 
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Posts: 4871
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Sounds like a pretty good deal, but you need to think about logistics of doing the Restoration part, and you need to build your library with that in mind.

I would recommend Mark Shepard's Restoration Agriculture, as the starting point.
In it he goes over quite a lot of information and he has been doing these sorts of projects for over 30 years.
You can also read about New Forest Farm, his personal restoration project that produces income for his family in a variety of income streams.

He has a new book out I've heard that focuses more on restoration of heavily forested land with many examples and lots of data from many people's projects.

Redhawk
 
Posts: 4
Location: Kentucky
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It would be pretty neat to buy a property like that.  I wouldn't clear cut but selling a bunch of the timber could net you a significant percentage of the purchase price back in little time.  You could designate some of the trees you keep for construction and gird a bunch of em..  Give it a year and you have dry standing logs for a house and barn etc.  You spend the year getting foundations ready then you're all ready to build log cabin style or 5-10k for a lumber mill to cut up the logs. 
 
I like tacos! And this tiny ad:
Food Forest Card Game - Game Forum
https://permies.com/t/61704/Food-Forest-Card-Game-Game
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