[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

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
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.


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.  :)


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