Frank and keylines

John Schinnerer johns at
Thu Nov 9 18:16:31 EST 2000


> appears so. Pretty diverse mix of hardwoods, fertile rich soils
> especially in certain areas. Limestone ledges, escarpments support
> slopes. You can see rock ledges in some areas especially near top of
> On the otherhand there's a lot of dead wood, den trees, blown over trees,
> etc.

That sounds pretty healthy to me.  Dead wood, blowdowns, etc. feed the
forest as they decay; den trees (for critters I assume you mean?) and snags
keep forest critters happy and doing whatever they do in your forest, which
may be helping keep the forest happy in return...
Recommended reading:  "Wildwood: a forest for the future," by Ruth Loomis,
with Merv Wilkinson.  I did a workshop with Merv a few years ago and he
talked at one point about how he'd learned to be "less tidy" with his
forest, from some younger practitioners - he'd been cleaning up "too much"
of the deadwood, limbings, blowdowns, etc.  :-)

>Many of trees seem to have very shallow root systems.

I know zip about your bioregion soil/geology, but sounds from your
description like you've got rocky slopes/hills with shallow soils, so trees
will have shallow root systems...could be some species that have shallow
root systems too?  I've seen canadian shield forests in the Boundary
Waters - talk about shallow root systems!  But they can be healthy

> My concern is that over time gorges and drainages ways at the bottom of
> slopes often divert water where it is not needed or desired. In some
areas it
> creates real bogs in spring rainy season.

Well, ditto Loren's comments, how are these 'problems' actually 'resources'
for your land?  I know people who have worked hard to create bogs!  ;-)

If you've got open slopes below the forest with water issues, they could be
worked with keyline plowing, swales, planting, etc. to slow down and spread
out the water.  Where the forests come all the way down to the flats, if it
were me I'd be inclined to not mess with the forests much.  If there's bogs
at the bottom of forested hillsides, hmm...expand 'em to ponds?  Plant
stuff that likes bogs?  Etc....

John Schinnerer
Cultural & Ecological Designing
Human Habitat Design
johns at

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