[permaculture] concerns about conifers (pine, fir, spruce, cedars, etc.)

paul wheaton paul at richsoil.com
Thu Mar 24 13:47:13 EDT 2011


I think I should call this part of the series of things I do to get
thousands of people to hate me.

I think this is an important message.  Especially for permaculture
folk.  We often hear of all the upsides, but as we make our designs, I
think it is wise to be aware of the downsides too.

Just to be clear:  I do NOT advocate elimination of conifers.  I
advocate diversity.  I advocate replacing conifer monocultures with a
diversity of trees that include conifers.

Discussion of this video is at
http://www.permies.com/permaculture-forums/4770_0/permaculture/should-a-douglas-fir-tree-be-considered-a-weed

There are four parts to this video.

The first part is where Brad Knight (Sage Mountain Homestead,
Corvallis, Montana) and I are investigating the understory of a large
pine.  Nothing growing there.  Conifers are allelopathic - they sorta
poison the competition.

The second part is with Ernie Wisner (http://www.ernieanderica.info)
who conveys the days that he worked at measuring the biodiversity
under douglas fir monocultures.

The third part shows the mighty, the glorious, the amazing Sepp Holzer
(http://www.richsoil.com/sepp-holzer/sepp-holzer-permaculture.jsp)
expressing his opinion on "conifer desert" referring to how conifers,
when left unchecked, tend to take over a landscape and greatly reduce
horticultural diversity which leads to a broad variety of problems.

And finally, Rick Valley, horticulturalist and permaculture instructor
at the Lost Valley Educational Center in Dexter, Oregon
(http://www.lostvalley.org/), sums it all up especially well.   He
points out how a douglas fir tree easily outcompetes oak trees.  And
relates how the native people burned back the douglas fir trees so
their food is given a better chance.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l99d8BR8Tmk

Please forward to people that you think would benefit from hating me
more.  :)  Or maybe to people that might find value in this without
hating me.  :)

Thanks!



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