Chestnut Questions

KMorrisD kmorrisd at aol.com
Sun May 9 19:49:39 EST 1999


further at inh.co.jp (Doug Bartley) wrote:

>Regarding hogs, I have wondered about the ecological impact
>of their introduction by European settlers. Probably difficult
>to know with any great certainty. Seems that in some respects
>their feeding habits are similar to bears. 

I read somewhere about an old practice called "shacking the hogs" in this area
(southern New England).  Apparently they'd turn the hogs out into the forest in
the fall when the chestnuts and acorns were falling, and someone would go along
with them and live in a shack. 

As for re-introducing
>them now, I have far more questions than answers. I am interested
>in figuring out whether there is some way to incorporate
>this effectively into an agroforestry venture of fairly modest
>scale.

Have you read J Russell Smith's book Tree Crops: A Permanent Agriculture?  He
wrote about this type of agroforestry as a way to improve rural economies.  He
cited examples from all over the world where chestnut agroforestry was a common
practice.

>Regarding chestnuts again, I'd be interested to know about those
>areas esp. of Southern Europe where they are traditionally abundant.
>Read an article years ago about Corsica, where they were (are?)
>very much a staple, replacing grain for many purposes. The article
>contended that this had had a very positive ecological impact -
>this had been researched at some point (maybe 1920's?) with the 
>idea of doing this in the Appalachian region as an alternative to the
>destructive practice of raising corn on steep ground.

Sounds like Smith, who wrote the first edition of his book in the 20s, and
updated it in the 50s.  You might want to see if you can find a copy.  It's a
classic.  Just checked amazon.com and they carry it.  See also 
http://www.traverse.com/earthkeepers/CORN.html for something by a fan of J
Russell Smith.

Karl Davies





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