“The Answer is in the Trees”

Erosion is the enemy of both agriculture and civilization, according to J. Russell Smith, author of “Tree Crops,” a classic text on arboreal agriculture. Smith took a series of trips in the 1930s to the Mediterranean, Far East and Middle East to study land use. He was appalled by the vast stretches of destroyed and depleted land he encountered: ” Forest – field – plow – desert. That is the cycle of the hills under most plow agricultures.” Between the water erosion on hilly and sloping lands and the wind erosion on flat plains, the world’s fertile topsoil continues to drift away or be washed away. So it is no exaggeration to say that topsoil erosion is as big a threat as climate change, a problem not as visible as the coming oil shortage but a far greater danger to humankind.

Just about every damaging factor in modern agriculture is absent from arboreal cultivation. Tree crops can actually yield significantly more food, including carbohydrates and animal feed. Once upon a time, in ancient Greece and among Native Americans in California , for example, the main source of bread was oak trees. The bottom line is that there are many alternative options that need to be explored.


This entry was posted in Permaculture and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s