What is agroforestry? Well...

Larry Caldwell larryc at teleport.com
Wed Aug 13 00:18:46 EST 1997


In article <33EE83EF.7D90 at uoguelph.ca>,
Jamie Simpson <jamessim at uoguelph.ca> wrote:

> I have worked on a stream rehabilitation project on a short reach of a
> degraded agricultural stream.  It should have been good trout habitat
> but there was no shade, lots of erosion and relatively high levels of
> nitrate.  We planted trees, hybrid poplars, maple, ash, walnut and some
> shrubs.  It looks really nice now and it appears that there are some
> improvements to the health of the stream.  Maybe the farmer doesn't make
> a lot of money from this, at least until the trees mature.  But the
> overall environmental costs can be reduced with such practices.

Erosion control is always worth pursuing, but in my part of the world no
farmer will ever make a nickel off of stream bank forestry.  It's illegal
to cut trees in a riparian buffer zone, which is currently 100 feet on 
each side of the stream in dead flat conditions, and wider if there is
a slope.  It's unlikely the laws will ever become less restrictive, 
either.  

It presents the farmer with an interesting dilemma, since it's legal to
convert riparian grasslands to forestry, but not legal to convert riparian
forest lands to grass.  Of course, the beaver can whack all the trees they
want, which they do enthusiastically on my property.  I have to wrap the 
trees with chicken wire if I want to save them.  

I've worked out an interesting relationship with the local beaver.  I toss
the apple tree prunings into the creek.  The beaver come upstream about
300 yards from their dam and clean them up slick as a whistle.  Then I
fish the sticks out of the creek, varnish them up, and sell them for
ten bucks apiece as beaver walking sticks at a local crafts fair.  Does 
that count as agroforestry?  :)

-- Larry

Cave ab homine unius libri!



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