Have you heard about food forest layers? What do you know about these layers? The traditional model included 7 layers that were supposed to mimic the structure of a natural forest. But of course natural forests are often not that simple.
Various people have added layers to the traditional 7 but the non-living layers of the forest have often been ignored.
This week’s blog post - Food Forest Layers and Why They are Important – covers the 7 traditional layers of a food forest but also dives into 4 non-living layers that are equally important to creating a healthy and abundant forest.
The 4 non-living layers covered in this post are:
- Standing dead woods (snags)
- Large logs
- Fallen branches and limbs
- Large rocks
Food Forest Layers for Each Type of Food Forest
This post is part 3 in a 4 part series all about food forests. The previous post in this series went over the different types of food forests. Each type of food forest will have a different balance of layers—both living and non-living layers.
The different types of food forests covered in the previous post were:
- Oak savanna
- Recovering forest
- Mature forest
For example the oak savanna type of food forest is going to have far less large woody debris and snags than a mature forest type of food forest.
But all types of food forests will have at least some elements from each of the 7 traditional layers and the 4 non-living layers.
It is just the amount from each layer that varies between the different types of food forests.
Why This all Matters
Often food forests are described in a kinda 1 size fits all manner, but natural forests are far more varied and different regions have very different types of forests. I think each food forest will be better off if it is designed to match the structure of the native forests found in your area.
But this still gives you options since most areas have different types of forests and you can choose to mimic a natural forest in your area post a disturbance event like a fire or mimic a mature natural forest.
The 4 non-living layers in this week’s post add to the complexity of your food forest and will provide habitat for all sorts of beneficial critters, create beneficial micro-climates, and support beneficial fungi.
Of course there could easily be more layers added that would add more complexity to our food forests. But at some point you just have to call it good enough.
What do you think? How do you use layers in your food forest designs?
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