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  • Richard Morris
    ... Subject: [PermacultureUK] - agroforestry report Date: Tue, 27 Apr 2004 13:43:14 +0100 From: permaculture.uk@ntlworld.com ( Jamie ) Trees may change farm
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 28, 2004
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      -------- Original Message --------
      Subject: [PermacultureUK] - agroforestry report
      Date: Tue, 27 Apr 2004 13:43:14 +0100
      From: permaculture.uk@... ("Jamie")

      Trees may change farm landscape

      Martin Wainwright
      Saturday April 24, 2004
      The Guardian <http://www.guardian.co.uk>

      Britain's farming landscape could see its biggest change since the
      introduction of yellow oilseed rape, after long-term trials of mixed
      tree and crop fields at two universities.
      Two decades of growing poplars, cherry and other species in lanes
      between similar corridors of winter wheat and barley have found
      increased productivity of trees and crops, as well as significant green
      improvements.
      The system, piloted in the north and south, at Leeds and Cranfield
      universities, restores a carefully timed use of natural resources last
      used widely in medieval times.
      David Pilbeam of Leeds University said: "Winter wheat, for example,
      needs lots of light in spring, when the shoots are coming up and growing
      to their full height.
      "By the time the poplars are in full leaf, the wheat is close to
      flowering and suffers less from shading - the two species share the
      sunshine by using it at different times of the year. Meanwhile, the
      trees protect crops from high winds, and their roots go deeper, taking
      nutrients and water from different areas of the soil."
      The trials have consistently found greater productivity than
      conventional systems, where crops and woodland were planted separately.
      Improvements in mechanisation have bypassed problems which led
      post-medieval farmers to separate crops and woodland with 16-metre lanes
      allowing tractors room to plough, sow, reap and prune.
      The system also revives "cropping" in forestry, with the poplars felled
      after 15 years for high-quality wood veneer. Other species such as
      walnut, ash and cherry are aimed at the furniture-making industry, but
      have a longer growth cycle.
      "Woodland pasture was once a central feature of the English landscape
      and bringing some back would create a more sustainable and attractive
      countryside," Dr Pilbeam said.
      "For years, forestry and agriculture have been separate disciplines, but
      by combining them we can bring more trees back into the landscape, which
      is great for wildlife as well as timber and agriculture."

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,1202222,00.html

      Press releases

      16 April 2004 Down on the University farm, you can't see the wheat for
      the trees

      Sticking a row of trees in the middle of a wheat field doesn't sound
      that bright - any gardener knows what a pain shade can be. But
      researchers at the University of Leeds are resurrecting agroforestry, a
      system of agriculture that died out in Britain with the advent of
      mechanised farming, but which can increase productivity, protect the
      environment and bring more trees back into the landscape. Dr David
      Pilbeam at the University of Leeds has found that growing crops in
      'lanes' between rows of poplars is more productive than if the same
      amount of land is used to grow them separately. The trick is in the
      timing, as he explains: "Winter wheat needs lots of light in spring,
      when the shoots are coming up and growing to their full height. By
      the time the poplars are in full leaf, the wheat is close to flowering
      and suffers less from shading - the two species share the sunshine by
      using it at different times of the year." There are other benefits too:
      the trees protect crops from high winds, and resources are used more
      efficiently. Tree roots go deeper than those of crops like wheat, and
      take nutrients and water from different areas of the soil, so
      competition is minimal. Shade does become a problem after about ten
      years, when the poplars are more than a third of the way to maturity. Dr
      Pilbeam said: "When the yields start to decline from shading, the ideal
      solution is either to turn the land to set-aside, or to graze animals
      under the trees. Sheep and cattle should do well in such a system, and
      chickens and pigs are descended from forest-dwelling ancestors; after
      all, woodland pasture was once a central feature of the English
      landscape. Bringing some back would create a more sustainable and
      attractive countryside."

      After 25 years, the trees are ready to be harvested, and the cycle can
      begin again. Dr Pilbeam said: "Europe has a timber shortage, with
      Britain and Ireland the least wooded of all. For years, forestry and
      agriculture have been separate disciplines, but by combining them we can
      bring more trees back into the landscape, which is great for wildlife as
      well as timber production and agriculture. Poplar is good for these
      systems as it is harvested more quickly than many other tree species, so
      farmers can contemplate an economic return within their own lifetime.
      "Farmers are showing increased interest in agroforestry, but the current
      subsidy regime makes it less profitable than growing trees and crops
      separately." For further information contact: Dr David Pilbeam,
      University of Leeds, School of Biology, 0113 343 2895,
      d.j.pilbeam@...
      <mailto:%20d.j.pilbeam@...> Antony Adshead, University of Leeds,
      press office, 0113 343 6699, a.adshead@...
      <mailto:a.adshead@...>

      Trees to be a poplar crop?

      Source: Farmer's Weekly Interactive 19 April 2004
      By Farmers Weekly Staff

      NEW RESEARCH has revealed that planting trees within arable fields can
      be more beneficial for crops than had previously been thought.
      Growing wheat in 'lanes' between rows of poplars is more productive than
      if the same amount of land is used to grow them separately, said David
      Pilbeam from the University of Leeds.
      Shading is not a problem since the two species share the sunshine by
      using it at different times of the year, he argued.
      "Winter wheat needs lots of light in spring, when the shoots are coming
      up and growing to their full height.
      "By the time the poplars are in full leaf, the wheat is close to
      flowering and suffers less from shading."
      The trees protect crops from high winds, and resources are used more
      efficiently, added Dr Pilbeam, since tree roots go deeper than those of
      crops like wheat, so competition is minimal.
      Shade does become a problem after about ten years, when the poplars are
      more than a third of the way to maturity.
      Dr Pilbeam suggested the ideal solution then is either to turn the land
      to set-aside, or to graze animals under the trees until they are
      harvested after 25 years and the cycle can begin again.
      "Woodland pasture was once a central feature of the English landscape.
      Bringing some back would create a more sustainable and attractive
      countryside," he said.
      http://www.fwi.co.uk/index.asp?fn=show14422&sec=226&hier=281

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