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Forest farming

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**Historical Development of Forest Farming:**
Forest farming has a centuries-old global history, providing food and medicine.
– J. Russell Smith’s book in 1929 promoted the concept of crop-yielding trees.
– Toyohiko Kagawa initiated forest farming in Japan in the 1930s for soil erosion and economic cropping.
– Robert Hart further developed forest gardening in England in the 1960s.
World War II briefly disrupted forest farming research.

**Principles and Objectives of Forest Farming:**
Forest farming focuses on ecological forest management, conserving biodiversity and wildlife habitat.
– It aims to restore ecological balance in fragmented second growth forests.
– Species selection is based on site characteristics for successful cultivation.
Forest farming enhances the economic value of forest property while allowing for timber sales in long-term strategies.

**Methods and Techniques in Forest Farming:**
– Methods include intensive thinning of tree stands, multiple entries for thinning, and interactive management.
– Techniques like forest gardening involve clearing understory vegetation and agronomic practices.
– Management intensity varies from intensive forest gardening to less intense methods.
– Physical disturbance to the surrounding area should be minimized, with guidance available from institutions like the University of Missouri.

**Benefits and Future Trends of Forest Farming:**
Forest farming combines ecological stability with productive agriculture systems.
– It can regenerate soils, restore groundwater supplies, and control floods and droughts.
– Adds financial value to forested lands while aligning with the demand for locally grown and organic foods.
Forest farming is expanding as a viable land management practice, with unique crops being added for market competitiveness.

**Specialized Techniques in Forest Farming:**
– Rest Gardens: Utilize vertical light levels, space under the forest canopy for multiple crops, and efficient space utilization for increased crop variety.
– Wild-Simulated Farming: Maintains a natural growing environment, enriches local NTFP populations, and involves sowing seeds directly onto the ground.
– Forest Tending: Adjusts tree crown density for natural reproduction, manipulates light levels for desirable NTFPs, and focuses on natural reproduction without supplemental planting.
Wildcrafting: Harvests naturally growing NTFPs without human involvement in plant establishment, focusing on protecting NTFPs for future harvests.

Forest farming (Wikipedia)

Forest farming is the cultivation of high-value specialty crops under a forest canopy that is intentionally modified or maintained to provide shade levels and habitat that favor growth and enhance production levels. Forest farming encompasses a range of cultivated systems from introducing plants into the understory of a timber stand to modifying forest stands to enhance the marketability and sustainable production of existing plants.

Forest farming is a type of agroforestry practice characterized by the "four I's": intentional, integrated, intensive and interactive. Agroforestry is a land management system that combines trees with crops or livestock, or both, on the same piece of land. It focuses on increasing benefits to the landowner as well as maintaining forest integrity and environmental health. The practice involves cultivating non-timber forest products or niche crops, some of which, such as ginseng or shiitake mushrooms, can have high market value.

Non-timber forest products (NTFPs) are plants, parts of plants, fungi, and other biological materials harvested from within and on the edges of natural, manipulated, or disturbed forests. Examples of crops are ginseng, shiitake mushrooms, decorative ferns, and pine straw. Products typically fit into the following categories: edible, medicinal and dietary supplements, floral or decorative, or specialty wood-based products.

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