For the past 20 years I’ve been slowly developing a variety of agroforestry systems on my homestead land near Oakville, WA. So far I’ve converted about 2.5 acres of former hayfield to bamboo and basketry willow plantations, an eastern hardwood zone, and a wildlife/livestock hedgerow. Over the next couple of years I am planning to convert another 1.5 acres to a mixed wildlife forage and wild food agroforestry zone. No native habitat is being converted, of course.
The idea here is to find and use exceptional varieties of native shrubs and trees that provide food – fruits, berries, flowers, leaves, roots, etc. If nothing else, the plantation will provide very good early successional habitat for wildlife. However, with care, it may also provide a nice supply of wild foods for my family.
Agroforestry stands on Hanson Forest. Each tract is a unique agroforestry zone: bamboo, baskets willow, eastern hardwoods, wildlife hedge, native edible/medicinal.
The realm of non-timber forest products merges pleasantly with the discipline of agroforestry. How do we intentionally cultivate, or farm the forest for non-timber products? I’m starting from scratch by establishing new agroforestry zones, but how can we can manipulate forest ecosystems to improve productivity of specific shrubs, ground covers, mushrooms, etc.? I’m starting to tinker with some ideas, but I’d like to hear yours…
Director of Forestry
P.S. Several resources on non-timber forest products can be found at the bottom of this newsletter.