Thursday, 13 October 2016

Forest garden takeover, October 2016

Forest Garden special; for one month only!

After the amazing popularity of Candela Vargas' new forest garden guide last month, I thought I'd dedicate The Digest to forest gardening for the whole of October. So everything I'm posting this month is in some way related to forest gardens or agroforestry (or both). Big thanks to Tomas Remiarz for inspiring this idea by sharing his bibliography with me. If you've got anything forest garden related you'd like me to post on The Digest, please email it, or a hyperlink to it, to by 23rd October. Thanks!

Trees for forest gardens (book)

Trees for Gardens, Orchards & Permaculture by Martin Crawford

Are you wondering which productive trees to plant in your garden? Or are you planning a forest garden? Perhaps you are planting an orchard but want a greater diversity of useful trees than is common? Or do you want to know what unusual fruit trees you can use? The answers to all these questions can be found here. Martin Crawford has researched and experimented with tree crops for 25 years and has selected over 100 of the best trees producing fruits, nuts, edible leaves and other useful products that can be grown in Europe and North America.

Edible forest gardens website (online)

Edible Forest Gardens

Edible Forest is dedicated to offering inspiring and practical information on the vision, ecology, design, and stewardship of perennial polycultures of multipurpose plants in small-scale settings.  We intend this website to grow into an information and networking resource for newcomers, amateurs, students, and serious practitioners and researchers alike.

Agroforestry Research Trust (online)

Agroforestry Research Trust

The ART is an educational and research organisation, founded in 1992 as a registered charity, to educate and conduct research into all aspects of agroforestry. Various academic and practical research projects have been undertaken since its formation, and results of research published by the Trust in a number of publications and in its own quarterly journal, Agroforestry News.  Courses and tours are also run on aspects of our work.

Agroforestry - next step for sustainable agriculture (#journal)

Agroforestry—The Next Step in Sustainable and Resilient Agriculture

Agriculture faces the unprecedented task of feeding a world population of 9 billion people by 2050 while simultaneously avoiding harmful environmental and social effects. In this paper, the authors examine current organic and conventional agriculture systems and suggest that agroforestry could be the next step in sustainable agriculture. By implementing systems that mimic nature’s functions, agroforestry has the potential to remain productive while supporting a range of ecosystem services. This paper outlines the common practices and products of agroforestry as well as beneficial environmental and social effects. It addresses barriers to agroforestry and explore potential options to alter policies and increase adoption by farmers. The paper concludes that agroforestry is one of the best land use strategies to contribute to food security while simultaneously limiting environmental degradation.

The importance of ecosystem diversity (#journal)

The functional role of producer diversity in ecosystems

This article reviews over two decades of experiments that have examined how species richness of primary producers influences the suite of ecological processes that are controlled by plants and algae in terrestrial, marine, and freshwater ecosystems. Using formal meta-analyses, we assess the balance of evidence for eight fundamental questions and corresponding hypotheses about the functional role of producer diversity in ecosystems. These include questions about how primary producer diversity influences the efficiency of resource use and biomass production in ecosystems, how primary producer diversity influences the transfer and recycling of biomass to other trophic groups in a food web, and the number of species and spatial /temporal scales at which diversity effects are most apparent. After summarizing the balance of evidence and stating our own confidence in the conclusions, we outline several new questions that must now be addressed.

Classifying plants by functional types (#journal)

Plant functional types: an alternative to taxonomic plant community description in biogeography?

This article critically reviews the concept of plant functional types as an alternative to the traditional taxonomic species-based approach to plant community description in biogeography and ecology. Plant functional types are nonphylogenetic groupings of species that show close similarities in their response to environmental and biotic controls. Functional classifications often cut across taxonomic classifications and may be more meaningful in terms of plant response.

Practical applications of plant functional types in biogeography and ecology are also reviewed. Plant functional types can aid in the understanding of ecological processes, such as the assembly and stability of communities and succession, and facilitate the detection and prediction of response to environmental change at a range of scales. Despite its potential, the plant functional type approach is probably best viewed as a complementary approach to description using traditional taxonomy.