The term agroforestry is simply defined as farming incorporating the cultivation of trees. With the movement of not only sustainable but regenerative farming, our agroforestry approach uses our livestock in harmony with the cultivation and management of the trees on our acreage to allow us to farm in a regenerative manner.
Native forests have traditionally been managed by large wild herbivores, creating a mixture of dense woodland and woodland pasture. The balance and necessity for large herbivores is essential to keep a balanced and diverse ecosystem rich with native wildlife. It was once thought that is if left to her own devices, Mother Nature would turn the land into forests. With many new studies and exciting wilding projects, new findings have found that this isn’t quite the case. Closed canopy systems as they are known, are some of the least productive ecosystems. Flooded with competing trees and plants, they block out the sunlight, slowly starving the ground below. Grazing large herbivores naturally maintain the balance of encroaching shrubs and bracken, saplings and emerging new trees, invertebrates and the attraction of birds, plus the spreading plant seeds as they are transported via the hair and hides.
Our historic landscape was best described as woodland pasture, a mixture of wooded areas and open areas. The term forest was previously used to describe an area where you would find deer. These two ways of describing our native landscape, we believe depict the way nature intends it to be.
Before farming and agriculture took ahold of us, wild horses, cattle, beavers and bears would have carved the surroundings. This is something we want to replicate with our farming methods, introducing hardy breeds that are well suited to outdoor rearing which graze and manage our farmland.
The other option that has been adopted for many years is to terraform our farmlands. Draining the wetlands, turning mixed woodland pasture to grassland, removing hedgerows and shrub. This practice had a devastating effect on our wildlife. No places for birds to nest, no diverse mix of native flowers to attract insects, no native herbivores to manage this land through grazing and keeping woodlands from becoming densely populated. This simplistic, one dimensional systems work nature, often taking a huge amount of investment and time to create.
We work with nature, understanding it’s rhythms and needs to give us an agroforestry approach to farming.