Happy September friends
Can it really be that we're rapidly approaching the equinox? Yet another growing season feels as if it's coming to a rapid close. While Dave and I have been remiss in keeping you fine people updated as to our progress on Coppice Agroforestry, we'd like to share that we're still steadily making headway, though the height of summer; back to back workshops, design courses and speaking engagements; new land purchases (Mark that is, in New Haven, VT); and occasional free time invested in cultivating our personal lives has claimed much of the past six weeks. As much of that work begins to slow though, Mark will once again resume part-full time work on the manuscript, while Dave and Daniel Plane continue to forge ahead fleshing out the ever-expanding coppice species database. We're still so deeply thrilled to be immersed in this process and are continually learning, reassessing, refining and framing our thoughts, findings and experiences. We're both carving out much of the fall/winter months to bring the manuscript to a point where it should be ready for refinement into a finished work and we're feeling ever-confident that we'll be making an invaluable contribution to the expansion and development of the state of the art of coppice agroforestry.
From my end, Dave just recently sent me his edited version of Chapter 1 - A Cultural History of Coppice Agroforestry. I've only just begun to pour over the myriad changes and comments he's made, and while positively overwhelming (said with honest gratitude), I can most definitely tell that the end results of this back and forth will result in a highly-readable, enjoyable, well framed and thorough end product. This is our 3rd round of editing to date and each time around, the book becomes more refined. I've attached a screen shot of part of a single page of text to show how thorough Mr. Jacke's editorial comments and changes are!
In the meantime, I'm working through each individual chapter, identifying gaps, fleshing them out, working to stitch the pieces together and integrate relevant academic journal articles into each from the monumental literature database Dave has assembled. Now deeply immersed in Chapter 3 - The Ecology and Biology of Woody Plants (the book comprises 10 chapters total), I've read over 80 journal articles that I'm going to begin integrating into the text this afternoon to further expand on how coppicing works at the level of the individual, patch and community. It's an ever-enlightening process.
I include a photo below of a cottonwood stool (Populus deltoides) that I pass fairly regularly on my journeys on foot around Burlington. In just a single season, this insanely vigorous stool has put on well over 10 feet worth of growth with stems well over 1.5" in diameter! It's incredible. And this is just a 'weed tree' growing along the edge of an old building foundation! Not bad! Thanks to Ammy for offering some scale
As far as Dave and Daniel's progress on the species database, we now have the Coppice-ability, Timber Uses, Basketry, Edibles database first drafts complete, and the Medicinals and Other Uses databases are not far behind—though they still need a lot of editing. We also have the first round of fodder research—gathering references from all over the world—almost complete—only two more genera to go out of 28 we focused on, but we've gathered over 600 references relating to the fodder use (crude protein and digestibility, primarily) of 75 genera along the way (thanks to our various volunteer researchers for their help, and to the indefatigable Daniel Plane for his ongoing efforts). We now have the unenviable task of combing through all these papers to dig out the nuggets we need for the species of interest and trying to make sense of them.
Now that we're back in the saddle, we'll make more of a concerted effort to keep you all abreast as to our progress and what new insights pop up in our mind's eye. We deeply appreciate your patience and support and continue to pursue our work with diligence to create a product that will serve our community for years to come. This has been an enormous process but we're both still feeling deeply energized and inspired. Thank you for being there for us!
Mark and Dave