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What is agroforestry? Well...

Joseph Zorzin redoak at forestmeister.com
Fri Aug 15 12:11:11 EST 1997

Jamie Simpson wrote:

> 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?

But getting into the agro part of agroforestry entails new complications
- like getting good dependable labor to do the work. Normal timber based
forestry is not labor intensive, i.e. with respect to the individual
property. A little activity every few years or so on small lots (under a
few hundred acres). But with agroforestry, unless the landowner is going
to do the work- who ya gonna trust? In Mass. if I hire a helper for 1
day per year, I have to pay work comp. for an entire year. Is the
landowner going to hire someone? In areas with active farming, it may be
possible to find agroworkers, but not in suburban forests of the
northeast. Or is the forestry consultant going to do this work? I
suspect that agroforestry in much of the world is theoretical only.
Something professors dream about.

> 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.

That's what we need, someone to prove that it will actually pay off.
When you have done this, please post a web page showing your accounting

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

It may very well be a good thing. I'd like to see the forest more
productive too, but most of us "mud foresters" can't get too
experimental with other people's resources. Somebody has to be the
pioneer in this "brave new world" of agroforestry.

One other reflection I have on agroforestry- the agro part of it- if
those agro products are so profitable, why should they not be just plain
agriculture, rather than agroforests? You can grow mushrooms in your
basement without worrying about a critter eating them. <G> And we sure
wouldn't want the critters eating that hemp. The stoned bear and deer
will walk right up to hunters and lick their faces. <G>

Where are the agroforestry web pages?

"The ONLY forester's web page in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts".

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