Forest fires have become an increasingly significant issue in the last decade and it seems as though nowhere is safe from the death and destruction that they bring. Few places have to contend with fires on a large a scale as Portugal. The fires this year killed 64 people and destroyed tens of thousands of hectares of forest and farmland.
In addition to climate change, one of the major issues in Portugal is urbanisation. In recent decades populations who once inhabited the land have been moving to urban areas in search of work, abandoning their land. This has lead to a lack of maintenance and an abundance of undergrowth which is in turn more vulnerable to these all consuming fires.
“This was an area where families had their small properties and they lived off the land. That ended in the 1970s, they left, and the owners of the land now live in the cities…The landscape we now have is the result of abandonment.”
– Antonio Louro, deputy mayor of Macao
Forest fires in Portugal account for a disproportionate amount of the total number in Europe. Despite accounting for less than 3% of the EU population, this year Portugal had to contend with 40% of the forest fires. Louro, the architect of land reforms in the area has proposed a novel solution to the problems in the region – namely ‘village companies’ that practice shared land management of abandoned land. This would see the reintroduction of native crops such as citrus trees and olives and the profits generated would be shared among the community.
It is so wonderful and inspiring to see innovative solutions take hold and gain traction in the face of environmental and social catastrophes. To read the full article, click HERE.
The Savanna Institute is running two free restorative agriculture field days in Wisconsin this month and next. Everybody is welcome and attendees will have the opportunity to learn more about agroforestry first-hand from farmers and researchers who work with perennial crop and livestock enterprises. The first of the two is on September 8th and the second is October 4th.
September 8th @ 1 pm
Feral Farm & Glacierland RC&D,
N2437 Brattset Lane,
Agroforestry & Long-Term Leases:
Feral Farm grows a diversity of tree crops in polyculture rows with hay alley cropped between, with an increasing emphasis on chestnuts. It is made possible by a unique long-term land access arrangement with Brattsett Family Farm, a grass-fed beef farm. Both farm operations have learned a lot about working collaboratively between an established farmer and a beginning one.
October 4 @ 9:30 am
Green Fire Farm,
N5305 Ringhand Road,
Silvopasture Establishment with Pastured Pigs, Adaptive Grazing
Join Jacob and nonprofit, extension, and agency personnel, for a field day highlighting how a conventional row crop operation is transitioning to multi-species pasture systems. We’ll talk about silvopasture establishment research, cost-share opportunities, techniques to extend the grazing season, and mentorship programs. Come see pigs and sheep rotationally graze in their two-year old silvopasture planting, a beef herd grass-finishing on fall interseeded annuals, a production flock of pastured laying hens, and a rainfall and erosion simulator.
Cornell Small Farms Programme are running a three day Agroforestry in Practice training course that will take place from October 17th – 19th, 2017 at the Schuyler County Cooperative Extension at Montour Falls NY.
Agroforestry is the science and art of combining trees and forests with crop production. It is a topic of great interest to many landowners and farmers and offers many promising enterprises including maple syrup, log mushroom cultivation, silvopasture (combining trees and livestock) and others.
Agroforestry has been established as one of the most reliable and promising uses of land in terms of economic return and environmental sustainability and health. The 3 day course is designed specifically with service providers in mind and offers a combination of both classroom time and field experience in established agroforestry farms.
Hawaii based Agroforestry Net and FARM Centre are teaming up to offer the Aloha Syntropica-Regenerative Agroforestry Workshop series in Hawi, North Kohala, Hawaii from August 20th to 31st, 2017. The workshops are designed to immerse farmers in regenerative agroforestry and will include personal training in the theory and practice of planning, planting and managing diverse food forests in a way that is both ecologically and economically sustainable.
Rodale Institute’s 2014 report on regenerative organic agriculture and climate change confirms the value of the work, “Changing farming practices to organic, regenerative and agro-ecological systems can… improve farm profitability and revitalize traditional farming communities while ensuring biodiversity and resilience of ecosystem services.”
August 20–25, 2017—Part 1: $1195 ($1075 before July 7)
August 27–31, 2017—Part 2*: $1195 ($1075 before July 7)
Parts 1 & 2: $1995 ($1795 before July 7)
10% early registration discount for payment before July 7
To find out more about this workshop and to register click HERE
These design templates are meant to be implemented on common landscapes. While they use temperate climate species that grow in the northern hemisphere (hardiness zones 4-7), documentation about underlying patterns is provided so substitutions can be made for different growing conditions and desired yields. Check out this awesome and exciting PDF to learn more!
This is a report from James Most, who runs the Greenhorns AgroForestry project made possible by Nutiva.
Progress of the Chestnut Project as of Summer 2014
What is Happening?
Hundreds of baby chestnut seedlings have germinated and are putting on lush growth in nursery beds and pots on Orcas Island, Washington. These young trees are being propagated from seed, and will spend all of 2014 growing and getting thick enough to be grafted to selected varieties in the spring of 2015. Starting in 2016, these trees will be robust enough to transplant out of the nursery and into orchards.
Why is this Happening?
The goal of this project is to encourage landowners, farmers, and ranchers to incorporate functional tree crops into their land management practices. Tree crops benefit all elements of land management- from the environmental angle: erosion control and carbon uptake, to the business angle: crop diversification/resiliency and reduction of dependence on grain based animal feeds. Sponsored by a grant from Nutiva, these chestnut trees will be distributed to ranchers, farmers, and landowners on the West Coast with consultation and establishment support.
Who is doing this?
With fiscal support from Nutiva and project sponsorship from the Greenhorns, James Most and Sara Joy Palmer are leasing a site on Orcas Island for the chestnut nursery and are currently propagating hundred of trees. In addition to propagating trees, James and Sara Joy have begun reaching out to potential landowners on the West Coast to site future chestnut orchards. Just this spring, they installed a 2 acre chestnut, walnut, and apple orchard for a landowner and organic farmer on Orcas Island.
How to find out more and get involved:
Contact James at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about the progress of the project and to talk all things chestnuts.
A Swiss-born man named Ernst Gotsch has spent the past 30 years developing an agroforestry system based on the natural succession of species and soil improvement in Brazil. He has developed and refined a technique of planting which can be applied to different ecosystems, but his actions in Bahia, Brazil have lead to the complete restoration of nearly 1200 acres of degraded Atlantic rainforests (from logging, pig farming, monocultures, etc). To see more of his videos, click HERE. <—And we really do hope you check out more of his videos, this guy is amazing.
who says, “Just want to make sure you know about Ernst Goetsch and the New Agricultural revolution occurring right now which is every bit as influential as was the agro-industrial “green revolution”. This time it is better because everyone is empowered and we get to build soil while making food and bringing back the forest.”