A selection of questions and answers from our Silvopasture Webinar on Monday night, great discussionon on all things agroforestry, more will be posted here over the next week or two.
Q: What species now that ash is off the table?A: Wild cherry and oak on good sites, birch, willow alder, hazel on wetter, poor sites. Sycamore on nearly any site.
Q: What nut trees would suit the system?A: Currently, in Ireland, there are successful hazelnut plantations, grazed with sheep, calves and poultry. Black walnut is also showing promise, but for timber rather than nuts. There is very little formal research in Ireland on nut production, but certainly, there is potential for sweet chestnut."
Q: Do we know if that average planting density of x400 stems per/ha was the optimal density in regards to the balance of additional ecosystem services the trees bring vs still being able to maintain good production levels from grazing farm livestock?A: Assuming it's likely to be site specific and what the farm business desires in regards to the overall outcomes?,,"Good question. It is a compromise between the rate of getting to a canopy condition i.e. getting the ecosystem benefits more quickly. Then gradually thin back to a final crop of approx 150 trees. But on a wet poor site, less thinning of say willow or alder would be an option. My gut feeling is that 400 /ha is an upper limit, given the cost of protection as well. I would like to see more flexibility in the scheme. e.g. cactus guards are expensive to start (but are reusable several times) so an initial planting of 200/ha might be permitted? Different route to the same outcome!"