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Last updated October 14, 2005

Issues and problems in modern farming
and the potential impacts of Woody Agriculture, part 4

Wildlife habitat

The exchange of biologically sterile, bare soil fields for fields consisting of permanent stands of woody plants or trees would greatly increase living space and cover for a great variety of wildlife, from songbirds to deer.

Please note, however, that Woody Agriculture will still require weed and pest control from time to time, and it should not be imagined that intensively cropped woody fields will support wildlife in the same fashion that an undisturbed natural habitat will. Many animals can adapt to a small amount of periodic disturbance, but can never adapt to a plowed field.


Woody Agriculture is the intensive production of agricultural staple commodities from highly domesticated woody perennial plants. It promises to complement other environmentally sustainable practices in reducing the negative impact that agriculture has on our local and global ecosystems, while also being economically profitable. The markets for hazelnuts and chestnuts, in particular, are already established and have a lot of room for growth, both domestically and abroad. As has been demonstrated with soybeans—a huge success story of the introduction and prosperity of what was, once, an unknown crop—large-scale change will happen if it is economically profitable. In the case of Woody Agriculture, the potential for economic and environmental profits is ripe for the picking.
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