What is agroforestry? Well...

Jamie Simpson jamessim at uoguelph.ca
Thu Aug 14 22:04:18 EST 1997

Don Staples wrote:

> I have tongue firmly in cheek when I ask about "agroforestry", but
> haven't the where with all to post such a sight.  My point is that it is
> still growing trees, walnut, red oak, what ever, and a second crop of
> some biological form (in Texas it has been a practice for some citizens
> to plant a little weed in pine plantations, usually on burned wind rows,
> to augment their income off the other guys land.  I wonder, would that
> be agro-forestry?  TFIC).

Yes, this most certainly is agroforestry.  Seeing as how high THC 'Weed'
can be grown here, there is no reason to believe that low THC hemp could
not be grown for fibre production.   There are a few trial plots of
monocropped hemp in Ontario.

> Agriculture is the root of both forestry and "agroforestry", I fail to
> comprehend the very thin line dividing the two.  If an individual want
> to grow petunias, potatos or pigs with his trees, I'll work up the plan
> for them,,,,, calling in, of course, petunia/potato/pig specialists as
> needed.

There are many reasons why a forester and a petunia/potato/pig
specialist may not be able to maximize the growth of either or both
crops.  As an agroforestry researcher (couldn't find a job so I am going
to grad school) I am learning of the many difficulties in achieving
maximum growth, and maximum profit, in a multiple land use system. 
Trees competing with corn or sheep or whatever, behave very differently
than when competing with other trees.  

Even something as simple as managing forested lands for specialty crop
production (wild ginseng apparently goes for ~$500/lb, mushrooms are
very profitable, too).  There is much potential profit in forests and
plantations aside from the timber.  And much of this profit may be
realized prior to any harvest operation.

This shouldn't be anything new to the folks on this news group.  But
where are the people who are practicing this stuff?  And as consulting
foresters, are you informing your clients of such potential income?  If
not, then are you doing all that you can for your clients?  

Alot of agroforestry relates to 'green' thinking (soil conservation,
habitat rehabilitation, warm and fuzzy feeling inside, etc.) but I am a
firm believer of making money.  Especially in a sustainable manner. 
That is to say...keep making money for a very long time.

Sorry if I sound like I'm ranting.  I'm not.  But its been a while since
we've discussed agroforestry.

Jamie Simpson
Mendicant Friar
> --
> Ego Stroke:  http://www.livingston.net/dstaples/

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