Tree Fodder Seminar July 10-16

Boosting Climate Resilience and Biodiversity in Perennial Farm ecosystems through use of Air Meadow Pollarding.

July 10 -16 (with partial attendance invited), at 3 Streams Farm in Belfast, Maine

Traditional Air Meadow pruning cycles are aimed at creating accessible native tree forms for harvest of high quality animal fodder. These methods also enhance bush and ground browse layers, provide nutrients to pasture plants, fix more carbon, increase tree longevity, preserve broader forest gene pools of tree individuals per area, and increase habitat diversity and species counts.

Seminar will include:

  • A quick review of 8,000 years of tree-based agricultural history.
  • Tree-level considerations: light requirements, fungal compartmentalization for longevity, progressions toward structural forms by species for storm-proofing, sproutability, and safe human access, assessment of tree energy to inform pruning regimes.
  • Forest-level decisions and practice: tree selection toward “intensity” and “grain” of pattern for maximum complexity, felling with minimal understory damages, soil-to- species matching, Edge effects and “sun pocket” balancing of light, temperature, moisture and wind changes, tree genetic and pollination awareness to retain long-term diversity, pest insurance through wildlife habitat enhancement plus mulch duff for rain toxin resiliency using “waste” wood and Legacy Trees.
  • Trees and brush on the meadow: nutritive soil contributions of trees to grass layer, strategies for establishing young trees around animals, open-burn biocharring, casual wild mushroom cultivation and other uses of woody refuse.
  • Seasonal nutritional windows of plants: timing fodder harvests per species to optimize nourishment and palatability, nutritional ranking to prioritize species.
  • Animal-plant interactions in browsing; observation and recording methods to capture their knowledge of your land.
  • Harvest and storage methods: stripping, lopping, sheaf tying, racking, stacking, picking, raking and silaging (in that seasonal order); use and care of tools.
  • Socio-cultural considerations: indignities associated with reliving these ancient practices, historic class conflicts around leaf harvest versus lumber, tree and browse pace and rootedness at odds with the transience of our times, extensive species-inclusive slow stable agriculture versus pressure to intensively “feed the masses”, cultural ideas around labor and human abilities.
  • Manual labor together to keep 3 Streams goats fed on tree fodder during the seminar.
  • Swimming ( 3 ponds on site), cooking, eating, sleeping, conversation, stories, music.
  • Expert consultations tentatively planned, on billhook use (Benjamin Bouchard), arborist skills and safety (Mike Jastrom), assessment of soils for tree species (Dave Rocque), benefits and uses of biochar and woody mulch (Mark Fulford), and tree fodder in the European historical context (Morten Moesswilde and Shana Hanson).

$150 suggested contribution covers instruction and room or campsite plus meal ingredients for the week. 

$35 is suggested to attend one day, and $20/day suggested contribution for additional days.

$10 suggested donation to attend any single presentation. 

3 billhooks are available at cost, $61.77 each, but requested to be shared (plus Shana’s) during the seminar.

Call Shana at (207) 338-3301 FMI and to register.

Posted in Guild.