[permaculture] Adequate Plant Species Data-Base

Neil Bertrando neilbertrando at gmail.com
Thu May 26 16:43:22 EDT 2011


Hi Laura,

I would love to see something like this developed (or even a collaborative
project where we create permaculture plant lists specific to climate
regions).  I live in a high desert climate in N. America (Reno NV) with low
rainfall, short growing seasons, hot-cold seasons, late frosts, high ET
rates, etc. so the plant pallete for food crops is fairly limited and often
requires edge technologies to modify microclimates.  Even then we often get
production 1 out of 3-5 years for many stonefruit species, for example.

Something this experience has reinforced for me is the importance of climate
specific and case sensitive strategies and patterns, including looking at
multiple systems approaches since Holistic Management has significantly
altered my perception of climate and ecosystem processes occurring in this
region. In particular I'm seeing a need to develop the plant-animal
connection patterns in food systems since many of the low input plants are
not edible by humans, but can be harvested using animal systems (not to
mention the myriad of function stacking opportunities).

This assessment leads me to the thought that a plant database for specific
condition might be very large indeed if it were to include plants important
to animal systems as well (or timber, lumber, firewood systems or medicinal
systems).

Perhaps you can define 'adequate' more specifically as well.  for example,
do you mean plants that grow easily in a specific climate or does the
criteria include food production, market viability, lack of supplemental
irrigation, cultural acceptability, etc?  Does this include the support
species that accelerate succession and evolution?  What about the skill sets
of the farm managers and staff?  What are the goals for the situation?

I'm guessing this would be too complex for kids in this format...perhaps a
game could be devised?

One way I usually start is by asking what are local farmers growing.  then
taking a trip to the local botanical gardens and creating a species list.
 then doing a climate assessment and looking for plants from similar
climates (rainfall amount and timing, hot and cold, growing season, soil
types, etc.).  If you are in the US you might also include checking with
your local agricultural extension service and NRCS office.

as for databases, some you might check are the Plants for a future database
http://www.pfaf.org/user/default.aspx

the plant lists in Gaia's Garden and Edible Forest Gardens vol II. books
(especially for temperate climates)

the world agroforestry centre mostly for tropical plants
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/

local nursery catalogs often help too.
for example if you are in the Midwest US Oikos Nursery has an informative
catalog.
http://www.oikostreecrops.com/

you might want to try contacting Craig Elevitch of the Agroforestry net on
Hawai'i.  He has developed an agroforestry training internship there. you
can also check out the links section of this site.
http://www.agroforestry.net/

hope this helps,
Neil

On Mon, May 23, 2011 at 8:28 AM, harry byrne wykman <
lists at peacetreepermaculture.com.au> wrote:

>
> Hello Laura,
>
> No, I don't know of one.  I'm beginning to collaborate with some folk
> to develop something that might be used in this way.
>
> At the moment, I think that there are just a number of steps in thought
> that have to be passed through to determine adequacy.
>
> I have recently written two posts on the topic dealing with
> Mediterranean climates particularly:
>
> Part I — Strategies for developing a (Mediterranean climate)
>  Permaculture Plant Palette | http://bit.ly/lffEkE
>
> Part II — Strategies for developing a (Mediterranean climate)
> Permaculture Plant Palette | http://bit.ly/mEHwPd
>
> I would be very interested to hear what you do come up with if you
> develop a kid-friendly way of approaching these problems.
>
> Harry
>
> On Mon, 23 May 2011 10:06:59 -0500
> Laura Vargas <laura at somosazucar.org> wrote:
>
> > Hello.
> >
> > Is there is such thing as an *Adequate Plant Species Data-Base?*. We
> > need the kids to be able to identify the most suitable/sustainable
> > species for their specific conditions.
> >
> > Thanks in advance for any help.
> >
> > Laura V.
> > Malla Project Team Leader
> > http://sugarlabs.org/
> > http://somosazucar.org/
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