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October No. 4

Edible Forest Gardens: A Review

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Edible Forest Gardens, Vol. 1, Ecological Vision and Theory for Temperate Climate Permaculture, by Dave Jacke with Eric Toensmeier, Chelsea Green Publishing, White River Junction, VT, 2005, 378 pp., List $75.00, ISBN 1-931498-79-2.

We've been eagerly awaiting this book (and Volume 2, Ecological Design and Practice for Temperate Climate Permaculture, due out soon) for several years. Years ago, we publicized an offer from Dave Jacke (a long-time HortIdeas subscriber) for pre-orders to help subsidize research. Probably no o­ne who pre-ordered (and certainly not ourselves), nor even Jacke himself, expected the enormity of the outcome: two weighty tomes with the potential to found a new discipline in temperate-zone horticultural science: "forest gardening."

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Living Snow Fences: Protection that Keeps Growing

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Windbreaks and living snow fences are a recognized technology for controlling wind and snow in the Great Plains and Midwest. They are not so common in the dry land wheat-growing region of Eastern Washington. In the past, o­nly about half of the plantings survived in a manner to give good performance. This can attributed to poor planning and inadequate care, leading to the attitude that trees are too difficult to establish. Today, the use of fabric mulch has greatly enhanced windbreak establishment success. Successful living snow fence projects in southeastern Idaho and dry land test tree plantings in Adams County, WA contributed to the development and successful installation of a living snow fence demonstration project in Lincoln County, near Davenport, WA.

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Dehesa Agroforestry Systems

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Introduction

The dehesas of southern Spain and Portugal (where they are called montados) are man-made ecosystems characterized by a savannah-like structure and very high biodiversity, where the trees (mainly holm oak, Quercus ilex) are viewed as an integrated part of the system, and as a result are planted, managed and regularly pruned. They are traditionally grazed by mixed livestock at low densities, and are probably the oldest agroforestry systems still in existence in Europe, having been developed some two thousand years ago and changed very little until the last 30-40 years.

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"Undercover" Shelterbelt Carbon

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Carbon (C) sequestration in forests has been widely promoted as a practice to offset increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations. Since the 1930's, shelterbelts or field windbreaks have been planted extensively in the Great Plains of the U.S. Shelterbelts are an agroforestry practice that consists of o­ne to several rows of trees planted across crop fields or grazing lands to reduce wind speed and improve the local microclimate. Shelterbelts are most common in semiarid areas where they also protect the soil from wind erosion. Some measurements of the C storage potential of shelterbelt trees have been made but there have been no measurements of C sequestration in the leaf litter or soil under this agroforestry practice. Accurate assessment of the C stored in existing and potential shelterbelt plantings is needed to give full credit for its C sequestration potential.

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Plan Combines Commerce with Cost-Share to Encourage Buffer Planting

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Local officials in Washington County, Oregon are hoping than two new incentive programs that encourage farmers to voluntarily plant riparian buffers will help them achieve water quality goals over the Tualatin River watershed at lower cost than an engineered solution. These two programs, which complement, existing USDA cost-share programs, offer growers the option of either receiving higher subsidy payments under long-term contracts, or earning income from crops grown inside the buffers without contract enrollments.

Washington County, west of Portland, is the first Oregon county to offer Enhanced Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (Enhanced CREP) and Vegetated Buffer Areas for Conservation and Commerce (VEGBACC). According to Amber Reese, program manager with the Tualatin Soil & Water Conservation District (TSWCD), "the development of these two new programs, have been in response to low agricultural producer participation in the CRP/CREP program in the Tualatin River Basin." Because of high land values and the potential of higher profits from high value crops, agricultural producers in the Tualatin Basin have been reluctant to enroll. Development of CREP and VEGBACC programs, have been the result of action by local conservation agencies over the past two years.

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