Timber for Florida's Future

   I may have already said that I ardently believe that Florida's natural state is forested, and that it's weather and plants do everything they can to return the state to a forested system, time and again. Perhaps we should work with nature instead of against her, and plan Florida's agriculture to its forests and not to cattle pastures and tomatoes. After all, citrus trees can be part of a silviculture system, when properly managed.
     In the not-so-distant past we were all about growing timber, and some parts of North Florida still are. The construction lag has reduced the timber industry nationwide, but there will always be a need for lumber. Moreover, there are dozens if not hundreds of native and exotic trees that can be used to produce high-quality lumber products.

      This amazing essay was written in 1964 by an agricultural professor in Athens, Georgia. He outlines some information gleaned from their test site, which uses the American Sycamore tree, a member of the maple family, to very quickly produce high-quality timber and rough cellulose. The species grows very well in the entire east side of the country, is relatively pest-free, and can produce maple syrup and mushrooms as a by-product (read: secondary income). It grows quickly from seeds and is a prolific producer. The trees are even great at growing where other timber species can't or won't.
     I'm not advocating large fields of trees, but I am advocating some parts to life that can be more sustainable. What about permaculture farms that grow pecans, citrus, persimmons, cacti, pines, and other useful trees in polycutures? With processing facilities nearby or on-site, the value added could be enormous.

     Another favorable long-term study for commercial growth of Sycamore and Sweetgum in the deep south.

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