Agroforesty and animals

Permacltur permacltur at
Thu Mar 13 19:01:22 EST 1997

We this thread is doing a good job of demonstrating that anything can be
validated if stated in general enoug terms.  I wish to contribute a few

1)  Domestic ruminants are no better or worse at ecological interactions
than wild ruminants.  Stocking density for optimum production of the total
system is easier to regulate with domestic animals, particularly after
large preditors have been exterminated.

2)  Horses are not suited to free range in forests.  Goats can be a
serious problem.  This is due to these animals tendency to kill trees.  

3)  Some forests and their constituent tree species are sensitive to heavy
hooved animals.  A good example is the New Zealand bush where cattle kill
most native tree species by damage to the surface roots.  In this case,
introducing types of animals completely different than species for which
the native population has evolved can be troublesome.  There appear to be
no native mammals in New Zealand.  Generally, islands, or ecological
conditions simulating an island (e.g. oases, temperate peaks in deep
tropical latitudes, etc.)  require the utmost care and restraint with any
introduction, plant or animal.  Maritime climates can make rampant species
of exotics that are tame indeed in their native surrounds.  And so on. 
There is no rule or principile that can make up for the arrogance of
making decisiions to change things in a state of ignorance about the
likely results.  If you don't know what you are doing, go away, drop dead,
something, anything except tinkering with the sared environment.

4)  There are instances where plants and/or animals fill vacant niches in
ecosystems. Salmonids have been successfully introduced to New Zealand and
many species of warm-water fishes are equally suitable.  Domestic turkeys
escaped there and basically filled the niche vacated by the moas.  Black
locust filled an empty niche for a nitrogen fixing legume in continental
European forests.  Chickens seem to tune up most forest and agroforestry
situations, particularly in tropical and subtropical situations.   Again,
it is well to take the trouble to know what you are doing.  

For Mother Earth, Dan Hemenway, Yankee Permaculture Publications (since
1982), Elfin Permaculture workshops, lectures, Permaculture Design
Courses, consulting and permaculture designs (since 1981). Next 
correspondence permaculture training by email starts in Aug., '97.
Internships available. Copyright, 1997, Dan & Cynthia Hemenway, P.O. Box
2052, Ocala FL 34478 USA  YankeePerm at  

We don't have time to rush.

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