I have planted a couple of food forests and am very much interested in making habitat for wild life and offsetting carbon, but as i limit the perennial plants in my food forests to edible plants for humans i am restricted. DO you think this is still considered reforestation?
At first i thought not so i raised some money for a a reforestation project which has just been executed on 1 hectare. ANyhow i have a lot of land and plan to reforest 1 hectare a year, i am not planning next years reforestation and wondering what concept to go for.
Some of the principles we have included in the planning and planting:
The majority of the trees we have planted are native to Portugal
In order to block the north prevailing winds, a windbreak of fast growing trees has been planted on the north side of the food forest with another row of slow growing windbreak trees in front of these
We are looking for a 50% canopy coverage of the field to allow space for grasses, shrubs and wildflowers to flourish
In between the planned permanent trees, we have planted fast growing trees that will cover 100% of the canopy. These can be used for timber or fire wood and can be thinned out over the years (offsetting additional carbon)
Shrubs, herbs and groundcovers have been planted between many of the trees
Mostly fire resistant trees have been planted
We have planted trees in three areas:
Wet area – for water loving trees
Dry area – for more drought resistant trees
Around the lake – trees to shade the lake to reduce evaporation
Tree seeds have also been planted around the borders to offer an additional wind break and for carbon offsetting
We have planted a lot of trees, herbs and seeds all at once and left room for trees that may die. This is because we plan to introduce animals on rotation to keep the grasses and low hanging branches down to reduce fire risk as soon as possible. If we just planted some of the field and had to replant trees in future years it would delay the introduction of animals (as the trees need to establish first), thus increasing manual work to cut grass and reduce fire risk
That list sounds so impressive, that I want to say yes, except they are all super dwarfing 11ft or less cultivars, and this is taking up less than a fraction of a fraction of an acre.
So I think that a forest needs to be bigger than 1 acre, and it needs to be bigger than just 10ft tall shrubs. That said if due to the work that you are doing 15yrs from now you help create gov policy or just common sentiments and everyone started planting out acres and acres of plants, then yes. Also you are helping to be a part of the solution so in my book you are reforesting/rewilding/reconnecting and rejuvenating the earth one plot at a time.
If most of your trees are natives then in my opinion it is reforestation. Many indigenous wildlife, especially invertebrates, depend on native plants. I think it's possible to mix human and wildlife food plants in a way beneficial to all. That is my plan for my own land.
It really depends on who you ask. Some people including many governments and NGO's tend to think of reforestation as planting native species and can have very hostile attitudes towards more useful reforestation. I think it is best to use a combination of native plants and higher value plants in most situations. As long as you make it clear to anyone who is helping to fund the project that it is not only native plants, I think it is 100% correct to call it reforestation.
The main exceptions would be if there is a particularly unique ecosystem with a number of endangered lifeforms or if you are introducing species that are likely to become invasive pests.
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