A forest garden is a designed growing system based on trees, shrubs and perennial plants. The choice of plants are mixed in such a way as to mimic the structure of a natural forest – the most stable and sustainable type of ecosystem in this climate.
The primary aims for the system are:
~ to be biologically sustainable, able to cope with disturbances such as climate change
~ it should be productive, yielding a number (often large) of different products
~ it should require low maintenance, not requiring digging or additional fertilizer
The crops which are produced will often include fruits, nuts, edible leaves, spices, medicinal plant products, poles, fibers for tying, basketry materials, honey, fuelwood, fodder, mulches, game and sap products.
In temperate regions, forest gardens are a more recent innovation, many inspired by Robert Hart’s efforts in Shropshire (UK) over the last 30 years and the Agroforestry Research Trust run by Martin Crawford in Devon.