What is agroforestry? Well...

Larry Caldwell larryc at teleport.com
Sat Aug 16 17:27:36 EST 1997

In article <33F4A393.5DF0 at mail.olympus.net>,
Michael Hagen <mhagen at mail.olympus.net> wrote:

> >Thats why we get paid the big bucks (snort :) Actually I misdirected a rant myself recently, (into the ozone, I think) that refered to ginseng, chanterelles, curly willow and some really good alternative forest crops. 

Yep, you sent it to me by email instead of replying to the group.  I was a 
little surprised at the time.  Since you actually intended it for human
consumption, here it is, straight from my hard drive:


Date: Wed, 13 Aug 1997 09:35:29 -0700
From: Michael Hagen <mhagen at olympus.net>
To: Larry Caldwell <larryc at teleport.com>
Subject: Re: What is agroforestry? Well...
References: <5r5fve$ce1 at mserv1.dl.ac.uk> <33D65E94.F2E at livingston.net>
	 <NpB6z0O5IoTQ091yn at teleport.com> <33E895F8.5686 at livingston.net>
	 <33EE83EF.7D90 at uoguelph.ca> <oYP8z0O5IYOX091yn at teleport.com>

Larry Caldwell wrote:
> 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

Not bad.  There doing it with Devils Club around here. Its a challenge
to pick but peels easily and makes a nice walking stick for the tourii. 

Among the jobs I take on are ones like figuring out incentives for a
landowner to agree to a fish restoration project which will tie up a
good portion of his (or her) land for many years. The new forest
protection Laws and BMP's are meant to encourage a minimum amount of
shaded and well vegetated riparian habitat. That doesn't stop the
landowner from using his land in any way which will preserve that cover.
That includes selective cutting and what has become the "specialized
forest products" industry. (We used to call it Brush, or worse when
running lines through it) 

The industry has gotten very big in Washington and Oregon. The pickers
used to get penneys on the dollar and so could not pay the landowner any
serious rent. The wholesalers frankly made out like bandits. Nowadays,
the wholesalers bid on large acreages, so the landowner is getting some
return, but not yet comparable to timber. Things are still evening out,
as owners get more control over access to their land. When you introduce
special crops like curly willow, chanterelles, matsutake, goldenseal or
ginseng and control access, then there will be some positive economic
value in those "worthless" leave strips. This is definitely


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