(no subject)

Jamie Simpson jamessim at uoguelph.ca
Sat Mar 29 03:02:00 EST 1997


Thanks to everyone who has responded to my posting. I have had a couple
of different comments about some of the less traditional, or at least
less practiced, methods of agroforestry.  Where I work in Ontario
(Canada, north of New York, for the unitiated) there are many private
landowners that farm successfully.  Many, probably most, have a woodlot
on the property.  Some manage their woodlot for timber production, but
most don't.  But this is not my concern.  I am interested in the
potential to enhance on-farm revenue by diversifying the crop.  That
is...add trees to the mixture.  Plantation forestry, whether it be for
timber production or biomass production is well researched and shows
promise given the right economics.  However, the research program I am
involved in (ya, I'm a grad student) is looking at the potential for
growing crops and trees, or animals and trees together.  This goes
beyond windbreaks.  I am working on a site that has rows of trees spaced
15 - 20 metres apart, with crops growing in between.  Eventually, this
site will be taken out of crop rotation but the value of the trees will
continue to increase.  Our contention is that the value of the trees
will provide a greater economic return than the crops.  AND, will
enhance efforts towards soil conservation, improve water quality,
increase biodiversity, look real pretty, etc.  So far, the greatest
resistance to this method of gaining income from an agricultural land
base has come from farmers that believe that the trees will interfere
with current practices, including such problems as plugging up tile
drains, slowing down plowing and harvesting, damaging equipment,
requiring new equipment, etc.  None of this is true.  

I was hoping that some of the foresters that visit this site have
clients that manage a woodlot and crop or raise animals.  I belive that
we have a workable system, but I would like to know how to address some
of the issues that the landowner may have that would limit the potential
for acceptance of such a system.

Feel free to ask questions or send flames.

Jamie Simpson
Mendicant Friar, Bartender, Aspiring Agroforestry and Part-Time Goalie



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