Win a copy of Social Forestry Book - join us this week with Tomi Hazel Vaarde in the Woodland forum!
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Please join me in welcoming Tomi Hazel Vaarde, author of Social Forestry: Tending the Land as People of Place




Read the book reviews here!

Hazel will be hanging out in the forums until Friday, September 22, 2023 answering questions and sharing their experiences with you all.

At the end of the week, we'll make a draw for 4 lucky winners to win a copy of their book! From now until Friday, all new posts in the woodland forum are eligible to win.

To win, you must use a name that follows our naming policy and you must have your email set up to receive the Daily-ish email. Higher quality posts are weighed more highly than posts that just say, "I want this book!"

The winners will be notified by email and must respond within 24 hours. Only the winners who respond within that timeframe will receive their book.


Please remember that we favor perennial discussion.  The threads you start will last beyond the event.  You don't need to use Hazel's name to get their attention. We like these threads to be accessible to everyone, and some people may not post their experiences if the thread is directed to the author alone.


Posts in this thread won't count as an entry to win the book, but please say "Hi!" to Hazel and make them feel welcome!

COMMENTS:
 
steward
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Hi Hazel and welcome to Permies!  Your book looks intriguing and something I'd love to know more about.  I am currently living on the outskirts of a fast-growing city and I feel constantly saddened at the deforestation and loss of habitat happening on a frequent basis.  However, one of the things I love about permies is the positive solutions-focused community here which keeps me moving forward with heart, growing strength, knowledge and skills building, and some sort of optimism for individual action and community change.

I really look forward to hearing about some of the ways your book can help us positively and constructively effect change.  Thanks for being here!
 
gardener
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Hi Hazel,
Many thanks for joining us - Woodlands can be such special places. I hope you can inspire more awareness of how we can integrate into them. When I grow up I want to be a beech tree.
 
Mother Tree
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This couldn't have arrived at a more perfect time for me as I just lost my patch of forest to a fire and need to decide how to proceed. I'm reading it as fast as I can and with a bit of luck might even get a review out in the next day or so. Really enjoying it so far.
 
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Welcome, welcome!! Good to have you here!
 
master steward
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Welcome, Hazel

I am looking forward to lots of great questions this week and reading all the replies.

My woodland forest has been hit with a drought and we are now seeing the effects of the drought so my trees need help.
 
pioneer
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Welcome to Permies!
 
master gardener
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Welcome to permies, Hazel!  I hope you enjoy your visit here, and I hope people ask lots of interesting questions.
 
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I have cruised the links and Burra asks β€œWhat is a Mother Tree?”

Greetings to Permies.com! I am looking forward to our conversations. The gulch today is cooler and the early fall color on the Rhus diversiloba is spectacular.

A Mother Tree is a mature tree that has direct connections with its progeny through root splices, mycorrhizal webs and pheromones (perfume like turpines).  A Mother Tree is able to send messages and sometimes support, directly to surrounding relatives. We have a lot to learn about tree families and how they work. Meanwhile we might treasure β€œLegacy Trees” that have been through lots of local changes and are still standing strong.

Sit with an old tree! peace in the woods, hazel.
 
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Hi, welcome and thank you!
 
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Welcome Tomi,
My family planted our woodland on 13 acres of fallow fields in 2014. Since then any visitor can tie a ribbon or hang a sign on any tree. We planted 8000 trees, so we are expecting many more visitors.
 
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This book coincides with a future that I've had in mind for some time, namely having a community in the nearby river forestland.  I've lived in the forest for up to 4 weeks at a time, and just feel more "at home" there.  I really don't know how else to describe it.

I know I spend more time in the forest when it is just outside my tent door, I love being amongst the wildlife, I love hearing the sound of the river, nearby.  Permies.com talks a LOT about using our nearby natural resources for housing, heat, food and other basic necessities, and I spend time here, because all of that just resonates with me.

One book review mentions living more as the natives of the land lived for centuries before us, and I think that really embodies how I feel about our relationship with the land and the other living creatures sharing the environment with us.  Take what you need to live, but give back, too, in your stewardship of the land.

In a news story just yesterday, I was very concerned about the plan for government to "preserve" 30% of the land by 2030, and likewise 50% by 2050.  It basically boils down to making the.land inaccessible, and cramming us into "15 minute cities.". I definitely think that this is the very worst thing that could happen.  I much more favor dispersed living, and living in harmony with nature.  This would also make life more affordable for new immigrants.

Back in the day, the indigenous people thought more in terms of "belonging to the land" rather than the other way around.  In our time, we have to own the land in order to thwart the government's plans, banding together with other people of like mind.

I would find this book very helpful for what I plan to do.
 
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Hi Hazel, greetings from (downstate) New York - great to see your book getting more attention! I miss getting to learn with you in person, and I'm glad to see you still teaching and honing your craft. I'm making a living, and saving the money our absurd society demands as a precondition to land stewardship,  as a designer and landscaper, thanks in no small part to you.

I already have a copy of the book, so I'm just chiming in to encourage anyone here who doesn't win a copy to go out and get one anyway, it's well worth the investment <3
 
pollinator
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Hello Hazel, I am so glad to see you on this forum. I am a friend of your son in-law Eric (at least I think I remember that was your relationship), and from him and many others have heard many great things. I also loved several of your recent podcast appearances, and look forward to reading your book. Thanks for your stewardship work for our bioregion!
 
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Hi Hazel, welcome to this great forum
Looks like a great book. Many positive, community based actions getting going here in the UK. This book would be a nice companion for the one I've just bought.''Mini-forest Revolution' about the work of Akira Miyawaki. We already have one (city-based) 'tiny forest' locally and another is being planned.

πŸŒ³πŸŒ³πŸŒ²πŸŒ³πŸŒ²πŸŒ²πŸŒ²πŸŒ³πŸŒ³πŸŒ³πŸŒ³πŸŒ²πŸŒ³πŸŒ²πŸŒ²πŸŒ²πŸŒ²πŸŒ³πŸŒ³πŸŒ³πŸŒ²πŸŒ²πŸŒ³πŸŒ²πŸŒ²πŸŒ²πŸŒ²πŸŒ³πŸŒ²πŸŒ²πŸŒ²πŸŒ³πŸŒ³πŸŒ³πŸŒ³πŸŒ²πŸŒ²πŸŒ²πŸŒ³πŸŒ³πŸŒ³πŸŒ²πŸŒ³πŸŒ²πŸŒ³πŸŒ²πŸŒ²πŸŒ³πŸŒ³πŸŒ³πŸŒ³πŸŒ³πŸŒ²πŸŒ³πŸŒ³πŸŒ³πŸŒ²πŸŒ³πŸŒ³πŸŒ²πŸŒ²πŸŒ³πŸŒ²πŸŒ²πŸŒ²πŸŒ²πŸŒ²πŸŒ²πŸŒ²πŸŒ³πŸŒ³πŸŒ³πŸŒ³πŸŒ³πŸŒ²πŸŒ²πŸŒ³πŸŒ²πŸŒ³πŸŒ²πŸŒ³πŸŒ²πŸŒ³πŸŒ²πŸŒ³πŸŒ²πŸŒ²πŸŒ²πŸŒ³πŸ’š
 
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Hi Hazel,
The book looks amazing I'm based in the UK just completed my PDC this Summer and Will definitely be getting a copy of your book it looks amazing. The plan is to get our own permaculture based plot of land set up here after seeing Martin Crawfords forest garden it has just shifted my whole perspective and we are going to be aiming for this kind of approach. Really looking forward to your book and the Extra Inspiration it will definitely give me for this lifelong journey. Thanks
 
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Hi Hazel and Woodland friends. Last year I was introduced to a concept called forest farming. I have a new friend who bought some rabbits from me. Whereas in traditional logging the idea is β€œtake the best and leave the restβ€œ in forest farming it’s the opposite you’re going to leave the very high quality trees, possibly only thinning out the ones that need thinning because of sickness or positioning, but you will be taking down some of the junk trees and then inoculating them with a variety of mushrooms. The process of farming and harvesting the mushrooms supposedly takes about six years. Then as well, you grow herbs, various types such as golden seal, etc. This brings the value and yield off of an acre of forest, much higher without doing the same type of damage. You keep the wonderful, valuable older trees, and are doing carbon sequestration at the same time and so much more sustainable, as well as a much better business model, and better for the planet. One must be very cautious when bringing down trees, apparently it’s very dangerous so it’s not something to just fool around with, you need the skills. I really want to learn more about forest farming, and I’m hoping that your book will have something in it about this..
 
Tomi Hazel
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Hello Burra!

First off I would have a lot of questions. Southern Portugal? The mountains? An Eucalyptus plantation? The Siskiyous are at the same latitude as southern Portugal.

I would advise getting all the carbon left on site down on the ground except for stable snags. Snags are really important to recovery. And I would caution against using machinery as compaction of soils on fresh burns is a real problem; compaction restricts topsoil recovery and forest regeneration. Here at the gulch I would lightly toast and sow grass seeds from Fescues, Bromes, Native Rye and other deep rooted native mycorrhizal perennial grasses to hold soil and build carbon capture again.

Dead trees that have to come down and fresh un-embedded logs can be laid just off contour and in ground contact to act as nurse logs that shelter seedlings and soils. This may be a chance to lay out permanent access trails that become future broadscale underburn fire breaks. These trails can be laid out on Keyline patterns and can be built to allow future woodlot tending. Roads can be put to bed becoming water capture and infiltration opportunities. I love wheel barrows and they only require well built trails.

Can you post a picture? All the best in your endeavors, hazel.
 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
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Tomi Hazel wrote:Hello Burra!

First off I would have a lot of questions. Southern Portugal? The mountains? An Eucalyptus plantation?

Can you post a picture? All the best in your endeavors, hazel.



Hi Hazel - good to talk with you!

I made a thread here - click me talking about it all, including a lot of photos I took this morning.

There are also a lot of threads active in the whole woodland forum which you might like to join in on.

 
gardener
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Hi Tomi, welcome to Permies :) I hope I get a chance to read your books soon. I'd love to hear about how you got to work with Starhawk or how she came to write the forward for you?
 
Jules Silverlock
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The publisher has kindly offered a fantastic discount on Hazel's book to buy the ebook version HERE

Also, on the link, you'll see a special discount code if you want to buy a hard copy of Hazel's book.
 
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Hi Hazel
Welcome to Permies. I love this site as it is THE BEST crowd sourced center for permaculture, off grid living. The moment I acquired my 2.65 acre property in South India, my eco-anxiety dropped many notches. I am doing what I can with everything I have. Your expertise will add to the enrichment of the soil in this community
Warm Permi Hug
Esther
 
Tomi Hazel
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Hi Hazel
Welcome to Permies. I love this site as it is THE BEST crowd sourced center for permaculture, off grid living. The moment I acquired my 2.65 acre property in South India, my eco-anxiety dropped many notches. I am doing what I can with everything I have. Your expertise will add to the enrichment of the soil in this community
Warm Permi Hug
Esther

Hello Esther! I hope you can find lots of ways to use trees on your plot! In urban forestry I consider the tree tops to be zone 4 and 5. Check out pollarding, as in France and Belgium, where a tree can be intensively managed with ladders by coppicing up off the ground. Lots of browse materials for animal feed, basketry withies and bundles of fuel wood can be produced. All the best, hazel.
 
Tomi Hazel
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"I really look forward to hearing about some of the ways your book can help us positively and constructively effect change.  Thanks for being here!


Thanks to Jay for the review of the book. The brief outline of Ten Steps to Becoming People of Place that he quotes is a good way to start. Perhaps the drainage basin one lives in already has a β€œWatershed Council” or in the US a Soil Conservation District that can provide maps and activities that can connect homesteaders to their drainage basin issues. See pages 68 and 69 for the full text of β€œTen Steps”.
 
Tomi Hazel
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Nancy Reading wrote:Hi Hazel,
Many thanks for joining us - Woodlands can be such special places. I hope you can inspire more awareness of how we can integrate into them. When I grow up I want to be a beech tree.



The entry activity for getting in touch with the forest is Forest Bathing and I recommend Julia Plevin’s book, The Healing Magic of Forest Bathing: Finding Calm, Creativity and Connection in the Natural World  on the subject. See Social Forestry chapter 3, "The Nest Home of Social Forestry" where culture and becoming people of place is introduced.

Having a special tree or spot in a woodlands that one visits regularly at different seasons to just sit and listen can help us integrate to place.
 
Tomi Hazel
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Anne Miller wrote:Welcome, Hazel

I am looking forward to lots of great questions this week and reading all the replies.

My woodland forest has been hit with a drought and we are now seeing the effects of the drought so my trees need help.



When a forest is experiencing drought and suffering, there are several strategies to consider. Is the forest overstocked? Perhaps the lack of tending by thinning and periodic burning has led to too many understory trees and the overstory oldgrowth is suffering? Perhaps there are too many roads and water infiltration is compromised? The process to drought proof a woodlands is dependent on so many factors. Generally we would hope to regenerate carbon capture through effective photosynthesis at the same time as reducing catastrophic fire potential. Chapter 5: Forest Ecology and Chapter 6: Forestry Work might help one observe and understand the underlying factors that contribute to forest health .
 
Tomi Hazel
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Chuck Zinda wrote:Welcome Tomi,
My family planted our woodland on 13 acres of fallow fields in 2014. Since then any visitor can tie a ribbon or hang a sign on any tree. We planted 8000 trees, so we are expecting many more visitors.



Page 77 in my book has a story called "A Day in the Life of Little Wolf Gulch" about living with interns as long term visitors that might interest you. I invite folks to come help out on projects and they then get a tour and they get to ask questions. Good signage for tourists is very useful but my experience is that signage times out (disintegrates) and is bypassed by the changing ecologies. I also have ceremonies where we honor the legacy trees (mostly White Oak here) with basketry hoops we make from coppicing Hazel. We sing a song and hang the hoops. Years later we search for the remnants of our decorations to understand time and change.  
 
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Steven Pinewood wrote:Hi Hazel, welcome to this great forum
Looks like a great book. Many positive, community based actions getting going here in the UK. This book would be a nice companion for the one I've just bought.''Mini-forest Revolution' about the work of Akira Miyawaki. We already have one (city-based) 'tiny forest' locally and another is being planned.



In the last decade of the last century Social Forestry was an international movement to reduce deforestation from fuel wood cutting and to plant city trees to ameliorate heat zones and urban stress. Tiny city forests are a wonderful activity where clumps of wildness can cheer us all up.
 
Tomi Hazel
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Edy Ki wrote:Hi Hazel and Woodland friends. Last year I was introduced to a concept called forest farming. I have a new friend who bought some rabbits from me. Whereas in traditional logging the idea is β€œtake the best and leave the restβ€œ in forest farming it’s the opposite you’re going to leave the very high quality trees, possibly only thinning out the ones that need thinning because of sickness or positioning, but you will be taking down some of the junk trees and then inoculating them with a variety of mushrooms. The process of farming and harvesting the mushrooms supposedly takes about six years. Then as well, you grow herbs, various types such as golden seal, etc. This brings the value and yield off of an acre of forest, much higher without doing the same type of damage. You keep the wonderful, valuable older trees, and are doing carbon sequestration at the same time and so much more sustainable, as well as a much better business model, and better for the planet. One must be very cautious when bringing down trees, apparently it’s very dangerous so it’s not something to just fool around with, you need the skills. I really want to learn more about forest farming, and I’m hoping that your book will have something in it about this..




Forest Farming (see the text book, Forest Farming: Towards a Solution to Problems of World Hunger and Conservation, in our Bibliography by Douglas and Hart) is a mix of forest tending and agriculture. Grazing in narrow β€œleys” between tree banks can offer lots of opportunities for integrating animal elements and finding multiple products. This is an intensive regime that works on low slope sites. Coppice and standards forestry has a phase of animal grazing after cutting mature coppice. Social Forestry tending various woodlot types is a form of Forest Farming in that multiple products are harvested from multiple pass through tasks.
 
Tomi Hazel
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Cat Knight wrote:Hi Tomi, welcome to Permies :) I hope I get a chance to read your books soon. I'd love to hear about how you got to work with Starhawk or how she came to write the forward for you?




I have known Starhawk by reputation and first met her in 2005 at EcoFarm Conference in California. My colleague Melanie is an old friend of hers from the anti-nuclear campaigns in the last century. I was very please when I heard she would write the introduction and have worked with her at conferences and on interview panels. I feel like we both are elder ceremonial facilitators.
 
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Marvin Warren wrote:Hi Hazel, greetings from (downstate) New York - great to see your book getting more attention! I miss getting to learn with you in person, and I'm glad to see you still teaching and honing your craft. I'm making a living, and saving the money our absurd society demands as a precondition to land stewardship,  as a designer and landscaper, thanks in no small part to you.

I already have a copy of the book, so I'm just chiming in to encourage anyone here who doesn't win a copy to go out and get one anyway, it's well worth the investment <3




Hello Marvin, good to hear from you. Thanks for the endorsement. All the best in landing in trees
 
Tomi Hazel
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Ben Zumeta wrote:Hello Hazel, I am so glad to see you on this forum. I am a friend of your son in-law Eric (at least I think I remember that was your relationship), and from him and many others have heard many great things. I also loved several of your recent podcast appearances, and look forward to reading your book. Thanks for your stewardship work for our bioregion!





Hello Ben, thanks for checking in. Yes, Eric is family, and I love my wild grandchildren. Here is an example of stewardship work near Ashland that is in the book.

The work I did with the Wilderness Charter School in Ashland was on US Forest Service roadsides where we reduced fuels, opened sight lines, coppice shrubs for basketry materials and harvested exotic medicinals to favor native plants. More details in my Social Forestry book pages 52 to 59.
 
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Sam Haynes wrote:Hi Hazel,
The book looks amazing I'm based in the UK just completed my PDC this Summer and Will definitely be getting a copy of your book it looks amazing. The plan is to get our own permaculture based plot of land set up here after seeing Martin Crawfords forest garden it has just shifted my whole perspective and we are going to be aiming for this kind of approach. Really looking forward to your book and the Extra Inspiration it will definitely give me for this lifelong journey. Thanks




Forest gardens are great small woodlots that can be very productive. When we establish these dense species plots, we are setting up lots of opportunities for harvesting materials for multiple products, fruits, nuts, herbs and berries, as well as firewood and so much more. If all or most of the products of these intense woodlots are used, the processing is a full time occupation. Consider that many forest gardens are over planted and under tended, and can warrant constant attention and interaction. Best wishes in your endeavors. hazel
 
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I have not got a copy of the book, I am in Australia.
We have an 18 inch rainfall and very poor soil, so I am wondering if your discussion and text will be relevant in this 'marginal' land by comparison to more congenial locations?
 
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Tomi Hazel wrote:

I would advise getting all the carbon left on site down on the ground except for stable snags. Snags are really important to recovery. And I would caution against using machinery as compaction of soils on fresh burns is a real problem; compaction restricts topsoil recovery and forest regeneration. Here at the gulch I would lightly toast and sow grass seeds from Fescues, Bromes, Native Rye and other deep rooted native mycorrhizal perennial grasses to hold soil and build carbon capture again.

Dead trees that have to come down and fresh un-embedded logs can be laid just off contour and in ground contact to act as nurse logs that shelter seedlings and soils. This may be a chance to lay out permanent access trails that become future broadscale underburn fire breaks. These trails can be laid out on Keyline patterns and can be built to allow future woodlot tending. Roads can be put to bed becoming water capture and infiltration opportunities. I love wheel barrows and they only require well built trails.



This makes so much sense! I'll need to keep this in mind. Planning a burn on my own land to turn some less than savory multiflora rose into carbon.
 
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Christopher Gewirtz wrote:

Tomi Hazel wrote:

I would advise getting all the carbon left on site down on the ground except for stable snags. Snags are really important to recovery. And I would caution against using machinery as compaction of soils on fresh burns is a real problem; compaction restricts topsoil recovery and forest regeneration. Here at the gulch I would lightly toast and sow grass seeds from Fescues, Bromes, Native Rye and other deep rooted native mycorrhizal perennial grasses to hold soil and build carbon capture again.

Dead trees that have to come down and fresh un-embedded logs can be laid just off contour and in ground contact to act as nurse logs that shelter seedlings and soils. This may be a chance to lay out permanent access trails that become future broadscale underburn fire breaks. These trails can be laid out on Keyline patterns and can be built to allow future woodlot tending. Roads can be put to bed becoming water capture and infiltration opportunities. I love wheel barrows and they only require well built trails.



This makes so much sense! I'll need to keep this in mind. Planning a burn on my own land to turn some less than savory multiflora rose into carbon.

 
Bronwyn Olsen
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Hi Hazel, I am curious to know more about the importance of keeping standing stable snags in the landscape for reasons other than homes for wildlife? Also, the forest around me is pine and cedar. I have distributed ash and charcoal from a central burn pile to all over property in smaller raked out piles. The grasses you recommended. Do these have a better chance where trees are? I want to improve the soil, don’t want to kill trees. The biggest lack is consistent water and organic matter which makes it hard to keep anything else going like elderberries ,Oak or Oregon grape root. Right now, I’m just annoying my husband with the ash everywhere!
 
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Hi Hazel

I am really enjoying your book. The style is unique, and I am finding it easy to digest the knowledge you share.

Thank you
 
Tomi Hazel
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Location: Southern Oregon
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John C Daley wrote:I have not got a copy of the book, I am in Australia.
We have an 18 inch rainfall and very poor soil, so I am wondering if your discussion and text will be relevant in this 'marginal' land by comparison to more congenial locations?




Hello John! That sounds like savanna country. When I worked in South Africa, the Acacia trees were invading complex grasslands from the loss of big browsers (Elephants) and suppression of seasonal fires. So how do you want to go? Grasses are the key foundation layer in β€œmarginal” country like yours . Grasses invite disturbances such as grazing, burning and mowing to stimulate root establishment (your Keyline mate P.A.Yeomans) and prevent senescence (Allan Savory’s Holistic Management). Trees would be scattered but productive and cool regular burning might not harm them as hot irregular burning would. Social Forestry takes on the cultural tending necessary to long frame persistence. Your neighborhood undoubtably holds the wisdom you need. The book does go on about organizing cool burning with community support in Chapter 7: Fire.

All the best, I hope you enjoy my remote speculations! hazel.
 
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Welcome, Tomi! Your book looks amazing! I live in a forest and it's been such a journey to learn how to garden in this environment.
 
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