Edible Reforestation






One might think it is the increased burning of fossil fuels that has
contributed most to the global rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. Yet we ought to ask how much our global loss of biomass has contributed, especially deforestation. Loss of biomass is a double whammy. Not only
do we gain carbon dioxide, we lose oxygen. How can we reverse the trend?

When life gives you lemons, make
lemonade. When life gives you a
greenhouse, grow plants. In a hungry
world it should be obvious we should
grow food producing plants. Rainforests
are destroyed for new pasture, but
people don’t eat the grasses planted.
Grasses, even if wheat or alfalfa, have
a tiny capacity to absorb carbon dioxide
and expirate oxygen, when compared
to great forests. We need to think more
in terms of biomass per square foot or
acre of surface.

In the Western Hemisphere, the
U.S. began the destructive practices of
clearing trees for pasture and farm
crops and others have seen it as a way
to boost agricultural affluence, which
undergirds the economic power of any
nation. Trees are harvested for
construction and fuel as well as pasture
and the tree has a very dim future.
What the world needs is more Johnny
Appleseeds.

Instead of planting trees that are cut
down and destroyed for profit, we need
to plant trees that are nurtured for
harvests that do not require the
destruction of the trees. The world
needs to plant trees that produce edible
crops in every available space. Then it
needs to apply high density housing
ideas to prevent encroachment on tree
habitats with population growth, which
is likely to level off and reverse due to
historical events in the near future.

If the rich insist on harvesting great
rainforests, perhaps we can form a
counter by reclaiming desert. How does
one reclaim desert? One uses irrigation,
moving water from where it is to where
it is not. We simply reverse the process
that creates desert. We start in the
fertile irrigated lands adjacent to dry
desert, pipe water, collect biomass and
plant trees that produce edible crops,
increasing local and global food
supplies. One acre in four might be
devoted to nursuries growing trees
from seed, so as to have an ever
expanding local supply. As deserts are
reclaimed, the food supplies are
dramatically increased and there is less
pressure to increase family size, as has
been proven. In a few generations we
could reach a balance among food,
populations, biomass and suitable,
comfortable housing.

We talk about the rising sea levels
that will surely result from the melting
of polar ice and fear submerging cities
around the world. Yet look at a globe
and see how many deserts abut
seacoasts. Build solar desalination
plants and pipe the water ever further
inland and we will find we can easily
produce food for shrinking and
stabilized populations, especially if we
think of producing mainly for domestic
consumption and only export surplus.
Trans oceanic shipping adds costs and
would not occur if poor nations were
not deceived by corporate global
agriculture into the idea that wealth
depends on export. Never did. Never
will. If we produce locally for local
consumption everywhere, we can end
the corporate global marketing
madness.

It is not like tree crops prevent the
harvesting of seasonal, annual and
perennial crops. Trees take time to
grow to maturity and are spaced
according to their mature size when
planted. Lots of open space between
seedlings. One can make perimeter
gardens around tree wells. Growing
table crops or high dollar specialty
crops will put the tree spaces into
production long before the trees
produce. This would water and fertilize
the trees so long as the gardens are
watered and fertilized. Garden beds
around tree wells also reduce soil
compaction and speed root growth.
Vertical fences of six or eight feet
height around trees, protect the trees
from high winds and summer sun when
planted with vertical climbing crops like
tomatos, cucumbers, pole beans,
grapes and any vine crop. Make the
tree site productive and the tree will
also be. It is just a matter of companion
planting. No fence material available?
Corn, sunflowers and pole beans would
still offer a small tree protection and
produce useful crops.

In addition to edible tree crops we
can plant medicinal tree crops. Ginkgo
Biloba and tea tree oil come
immediately to mind and I would bet
there are others such as olive trees
where olive leaf extract has proven to
have powerful anti pathogenic traits,
not duplicated in science labs. I’d
wager the number of medicinal tree
species run well into the hundreds.

When natural resources are
squandered to feed unnatural,
artificially created appetites and
obsessions, it appears the earth cannot
sustain its present populations at
anything near a comfortable level of
prosperity. But if resources were
properly husbanded, we would find the
comfortable carrying capacity or
sustainability of earth could readily
double what it is presently. The
problem has never been too many
people. The problem has been
profitable waste. In countries where
there is not enough food for the people
who live and work there, companies are
growing crops for export. Edible and
medicinal tree crops could make all the
difference to such countries and lower
global carbon dioxide levels.

Ed Hows sought and found. Knocked and entered. Now he sees things differently. To see more of what he sees, please visit http://www.justanotherview.com — or do an author search right here at Ezine Articles.

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