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J Davis wrote:Amazing post. Snags were a new concept to me and I have a few trees which need to come down that will soon become snags.
As I tend my land, my goal is to create a place of abundance, supporting life for me, mine, and for sharing with neighbors, needy, and with wildlife. A property teaming with life and flowing with water will be how I now I have succeeded.
Dennis Mitchell wrote:In the back of my mind I’ve been interested in a ecosystem based permaculture based on wilding. Primary to deal with invasive species, habitat loss, and global warming. I’m going to keep it in the back of my mind simply knowing I can do more harm than good. I’m upset having acres of milkweed, but no monarchs. We are going to lose so much.
I welcome your attempts. Above all we need the diversity nature can provide, and what better way than providing complex habitats. I live in a desert climate so snags are rare, but I have many piles of twigs and rocks. I wish I had more understanding of my local ecosystem, but finding a teachers has been hard.
Just learning which weeds are eatable has added much to the diversity. Dandelion, lambs quarter, mallow, purslane, dock, amaranth....hard to find space to plant stuff.
Jay Angler wrote:The former owners of my property installed an artificial pond which is surrounded by rock and is about 3 ft wide by 10 feet long. For years I tried to use benign neglect to "wild" it and it was only about 4 years before the duckweed and frogs moved in. I do harvest some of the duckweed for my ducks, but *never* when there are frog eggs or tadpoles. Some years I've gone out when the tree froglets were too small to leave the pond but were learning to use their new legs and they would pop like popcorn on the top of the duckweed. Unfortunately last year the concrete developed a crack and the pond no longer held water. I've tried to patch it, as frog reproduction habitat is really important, but I won't know for another month or two if my patch was successful. At least there's water in it now (it's a slow leak at least) and the frogs have just decided it's spring. They're being really loud about it too!
Jay Angler wrote:The former owners of my property installed an artificial pond which is surrounded by rock and is about 3 ft wide by 10 feet long. For years I tried to use benign neglect to "wild" it and it was only about 4 years before the duckweed and frogs moved in. I do harvest some of the duckweed for my ducks, but *never* when there are frog eggs or tadpoles.
Jay Angler wrote:Nice photo Daron - sooo.... my understanding is that in the Pacific NW, birds eat red huckleberries and poop onto stumps and that's why so many natural red huckleberry bushes are growing out of stumps. Are you taking bets whether your artificial snags will start growing?
Ralph Kettell wrote:It is interesting that you mention snags in your post today as we just cut up two very long ones into logs for the base of the hugel bed we are building. They will make nice water sponges with lots of bacteria and fungi living in them currently.
As for re-wilding we are still in a de-wilding phase. We have way more wild than non-wild area. However, one aspect of keeping it wild is that we feel like we moved into the woods which are replete with wild life. The animals were here first and we do not feel like we have the right to Willy nilly displace them or kill them. I have a love hate relationship with an adorable but very hungry ground hog. As part of re-wilding I am going to plant a garden bed for him to eat and hopefully mostly keep him out of our beds. Time will tell just how successful it will be. Meanwhile we are building much better fences around the main gardens which is not precisely re-wilding.
Steve Thorn wrote:I have a few rock piles, stumps, leaf piles, and lots of naturally wild areas currently on our property, and the amount of animals it's attracted has been amazing!
The other day, I saw a little lizard near one of the large leaf piles, and it took cover in it when I walked by.
Our yard seems to be a bird and pollinator sanctuary too.
It's always fun and fascinating to me, seeing all the beneficial critters enjoying themselves!
The next thing I'd like to do is make a small pond or ponds like those mentioned above. I remember as a little boy going to a really wet area near our home that had lots of big puddles everywhere. We called it the mudhole, and had lots of fun there!
Tyler Ludens wrote:Another thread about wildness and permaculture: https://permies.com/t/56225/permaculture-projects/Mollison-Permaculture-Zones-happened-Zone
Mick Fisch wrote:This thread went a different direction than I expected from the title. I usually think of 'rewilding' as associated with larger, regional proposals, which I always assume are made by rich folks in big cities who want a 'wild' area that they can visit on vacation and to hell with the locals. This thread covers a much more sane thought. 'What can I do in my little niche', not dealing with 'poster animals' like bears, bison herds, etc, which require huge ranges, but smaller, more numerous species like insects, amphibians, small reptiles and mammals. I LOVE IT!!!
I've been aware for decades of rock and brush piles for encouraging small wild life, but I had completely overlooked snags! GREAT IDEA. It can also look pretty cool. When it falls over, the larger, harder parts can go into a hugleculture bed, already bearing their load of wood eating microorganisms and facilitating the breakdown of the rest of the hugleculture bed. The broken down parts stay in the soil where they add organic matter.
One of the interesting things we are learning about 'untouched wilderness' is that there probably hasn't been any for many thousands of years. We are a very fertile species and we are good at colonizing new areas. We are like beavers, we modify our environment to suit us. Beavers don't ask permission from other species, neither do we. Our species are more adaptable and hopefully we can adjust our system to be more inclusive.
The lesson is not 'can we return it to how it was in 1491' or some other arbitrary number. As a species, we've been influencing our environment (often dramatically, often using fire) as long as we've been around. That is not necessarily a bad thing, we are also part of nature.
There is a lot more forest now than there was 120 years ago in the US, mainly because most people have moved away from wood heat.
Look how fast the area around Chernobyl reverted. The largest wildlife preserve in Asia was unplanned, it's the DMZ between north and south Korea.
The good news is that if we quit forcing things into our mold,nature will naturally 'rewild', although it may not look like the image we have in our minds. If we cooperate, it's even faster (snags, rock piles, etc.).
We get to thinking sometimes we are in control, but we still just the fleas on the dog. An intelligent flea would remember who he was and try to make life easy for the dog lest the dog start scratching.
Josh Garbo wrote:I'm coming from the opposite direction... re-homesteading a forest. I still have snags, from trees I've cut high and girdled. I employ lots of bio-adapted intensive hugulkultur (aka STUMPS with holes drilled in them, which I cover with mulch when I can). Lots of wildlife brush piles and brush pile fences. Many of my non food producing trees were pollarded at about 2-8 feet to create big bushes for wildlife cover and open up the canopy to allow for fruit trees and cover crops. Once my productive trees are flourishing (maybe 4-5 years down the road) I will probably convert some of my maple and tulip poplar pollard-bush-things to snags. Long-term, I don't think I'll keep any of my maples or tulip poplars as full-grown trees, reserving canopy space for the pre-existing oaks and hickories, as well as fruit trees. I have a feeling that pollarded poplars (may) create amazing bee habitat/food.
I create "nurse logs" from all the timber to create terraces; noticed squirrels like running along them and hoping bugs and other things live underneath them.
Also made a pile of asphalt and cinder block chunks taken from the land - hoping something enjoys that.
Adrienne Halbrook wrote:Great post! Never really thought of snags before. I have a handful of dead trees on my property, White Ash that were killed by the Emerald Ash Borer. The big ones I want to use for hugelkultur and now I have some good ideas of things to do with some of the smaller ones! Thanks!
Daron Williams wrote:One thing I would note is just because it is a "forest" does not mean it is "wild". A lot of what we call a forest was heavily degraded by past human activities and are not really natural. I tend to think of them as more of tree farms than true forests. By adding more diversity to the forest you are in many ways making it more wild by mimicking the structure that a natural forest would have.