[permaculture] New York state watershed protection legislation-pontentially progressive

Scott Vlaun scott at moosepondarts.com
Sun Dec 13 23:08:36 EST 2009


Thanks for this post. Indeed great to see farming being considered  
for its ecosystem services in the same way as wilderness and working  
forests. We are working on a watershed conservation project with a  
land trust and a conservation organization and trying to push them to  
consider farmlands in regards to proposed economic incentives for  
ecological management practices, but they seem pretty centered on  
forest ecosystems.  If you or anyone else has resources or  
information related to the topic, please pass it on.

We need to protect our watersheds up here, but they are going to have  
to produce a lot more food than they are now.

Thanks again,

Scott Vlaun
Moose Pond Arts+Ecology
Design Solutions for a Sustainable Future

450 Main Street, Studio 2
Norway, Maine 04268
207-739-2409 Studio

On Dec 13, 2009, at 6:05 PM, Patrick wrote:

It's great to see management strategies for riparian areas move  
beyond strictly wilderness conservation.

On a similar note, does anyone on the listserve know of the latest  
happening with the spring creek community forest?

Patrick O'Connor
Oakland, CA

Monday, November 30, 2009
Distributed Urban Agroforestry
Some 65% of New York’s Hudson River Valley and Catskill Mountain  
region are forested, with 85% of this forestland owned by private  
individuals, according to Cornell Cooperative Extension. These  
privately owned woodlands, if sustainably managed, provide critical  
ecosystem services, yet few property owners are aware of how to  
manage their land sustainably. Faced with financial obligations and  
property taxes, many harvest timber unsustainably or sell their  
property piece by piece for home construction. Typical forest  
management plans prepared by private foresters or the DEC focus on  
cutting and selling timber, even though surveys show that most forest  
landowners have much more diverse reasons for buying and keeping  
their wooded property.

One strategy for preventing the open space in our region from being  
parcelized and developed, particularly the ecologically sensitive  
forested land in NYC's watershed, is to offer landowners financially  
viable options for keeping their property intact. These options  
include enhancing recreational opportunities (e.g., stocking ponds  
for fishing, cutting trails for hiking or skiing, and managing the  
woods to support wildlife), and sustainable timber harvesting.  
Another viable though less common option is agroforestry, the  
practice of growing ginseng, mushrooms, or medicinal crops in the  
woods, raising livestock among the trees, or tapping maple trees for  

Legislation introduced by NYS Senator Charles Schumer and Congressman  
John McHugh would encourage private landowners to open up their  
properties for maple syrup tapping by providing grants to encourage  
them to provide access to maple producers. Called the “Maple Tapping  
Access Program Act of 2009,” the legislation aims to unleash the  
productive capacity of private woodlands, stimulating distributed  
agroforestry across regions that have abundant sugar maples. The  
potential is huge. Throughout New York State, for example, there are  
an estimated 300 million maple trees that can be tapped for their  
syrup, some 29 million in New York’s Hudson Valley alone.

The revenue from small-scale, disbursed maple syrup tapping may not  
be substantial for any single property owner, but it could help to  
pay the taxes on land that would otherwise be a financial burden,  
enabling the owner to keep his or her land intact. And for regions  
with abundant maple trees, the encouragement of distributed maple  
syrup production would be an economic boon. If successful, the model  
of distributed agroforestry – using many privately owned wooded  
properties to produce food and other agricultural products – can be a  
solution to the parcel by parcel destruction of our privately owned  
forest land.

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