Re: [fukuoka_farming] Fukuoka forestry
- Aaron (& anyone else who is interested):
I have the Merv Wilkinson's book in front of me now.
Wildwood, A Forest for the Future
by Ruth Loomis with Merv Wilkinson
copyright Ruth Loomis, 1990
Publisher: REFLECTIONS, Gabriola, B.C.
Printed by: Phantom Press, Nanaimo, B.C.
For anybody, who can't get a copy of the book but would like to know a
little about it, here are a few key facts:
started in 1938
calculates average board feet grown per year, then takes (on
selectively logged 9 times from then until 1990 (I'm sure it's been
logged at least once since)
does not worry much about diseases (can't wipe out a whole forest of
mixed age & species trees)
natural re-seeding (imported stock doesn't do well, and gets eaten
no removal of "weed" species or "sickly" trees
accounts for 1/3 of Merv Wilkinson's income & 22% of his time
standing crop of timber (in board feet) essentially unchanged since
philosophy: work with nature; use common sense
no burning of slash
access roads and skidder trails planned not to interfere with
small skidder machinery; horses if skidder can't get in
products: firewood, fenceposts, shakes, Christmas trees, pulpwood
(relatively small amount), specialty wood, lumber, plywood
estimated employment from 500-600 acres: 2 people full time, plus
crew & trucker at falling time
some minimal brush clearance (by hand or managed grazing by sheep)
Merv still has some concerns that the soil might not be properly
replenished over longer time periods (I assume he means 200+ years)
I think that a forest of this kind could also produce some maple syrup.
That is usually thought of as an Eastern Canadian product, but it can be
done on the west coast too. It's not reliable, because it needs crisp
clear days for good production and we do not always have a long enough
run of them in our springs, but it would supplement income from wood
products. I know someone who will tap maples on a mixed 1 acre woodlot
if he has time in the spring. The years he does it, I always get a jar
of maple syrup from him, and I'm not the only one.
I should clarify that I'm not a personal friend of Merv's, but did visit
once. Wildwood does allow groups and individuals to tour the property.
As you can see, lots of parallels to Fukuoka's approach; just working in
a different medium. I think that this way of "farming" could have broad
applications. I like the way that Merv is open about his results.