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Forest garden – The optimal ecological agricultural model

Model of a forest garden in the eco-tourism area of ​​U Minh Thuong National Park
Model of a forest garden in the eco-tourism area of ​​U Minh Thuong National Park, Kien Giang

Can say, forest garden is the oldest existing farming model ever and also the most optimal ecological agricultural model that we have. Although this type of model has been and is being applied in many places, people still seem unfamiliar, most still do not have much information about this type of agricultural model. So what is a forest garden? Are they really useful?

The concept and history of the forest garden


Forest Garden is a farming model that has existed since prehistoric times and then developed in many countries. Forest gardens not only bring healthy food sources but also contribute to protecting the ecological environment.

Maybe forest garden It may sound strange to many people, but this is a farming model that has existed for a long time. The model is a unique combination of forest trees and plants, also known as agro-forestry combination. With this farming model, farmers are quite leisurely, almost without taking much care, but the plants and the natural ecosystem in them grow and develop themselves. The multi-layered canopy structure of the forest garden has created an ecosystem that contributes to creating a healthy and abundant food source for people.


“The forest garden is life in the model of energy compatibility”

Ernst's model of the forest garden
Photo: Internet

Ernst Gotsch is a Swiss farmer and agricultural researcher. He has spent decades studying and practicing ecological agriculture. He proved that man can live on the forest and produce food from the forestand can perfectly protect the forest, even this model helps to improve degraded and degraded lands.

Ernst’s method is called Syntropic Agriculture. It is interactive techniques in agriculture that aim to create a positive energy balance throughout the system. This is techniques of intensive horticulture combined with forestry (forest).

The key point is the combination of plants with different distances and layers, depending on the time. Then there is the technique of pruning all kinds of wood and fruit trees. Pruning helps bring organic matter to the soil continuously, without having to add any organic matter from the outside.

Ernst’s method allows for soil restoration through fruit and vegetable production. At harvest, the soil becomes better, more fertile than when farming first started.

Model of forest garden - energy integrated agriculture
Model of forest garden – energy integrated agriculture

The structure of the forest garden

According to Robert Hart, he based his systematic observations from the natural forest and built his own forest garden with 7 different canopy layers by growing methods from an apple and pear orchard. The seven-layer system of the forest garden is:

Forest garden structure
Forest garden structure
  • The “canopy” includes the original mature fruit trees.
  • The “lower layer” of fruit trees and seeds is smaller than that of dwarf-rooted trees.
  • The “shrub class” of fruit bushes such as grapes and berries.
  • The “herbaceous class” of perennial vegetables and herbs, root crops and tubers.
  • The “ground cover” of edible plants is spread horizontally.
  • The “vertical layer” of vines includes grapes, climbing beans, various berries, passion fruit, kiwi fruit, climbing beans, etc.

Benefits / Meaning of the forest garden

Contributing to environmental protection, sustainable ecosystems achieve efficiency: produce food, restore soil fertility, meet market demand.

Planting many types of plants on the same area of ​​land will make the most of sunlight in the vertical canopy layers from above to the ground depending on the light needs of each tree species. The foliage of the trees on the upper floors acts to block rain and sun for the trees below.

Plant alternate crops.
Plant alternate crops.

Limit the growth and spread of some pests. Many plants secrete compounds from parts such as roots, stems, leaves, flowers, and fruits that inhibit or repel pests. Some plants have the effect of attracting natural enemies and pollinating insects.

Each plant species has different nutrient requirements. Therefore, when intercropping plants with complementary nutritional needs, it will create a balance of nutrients in the soil.

Banana garden on the way to Phong Nha - Ke Bang
Banana garden on the way to Phong Nha – Ke Bang

Forests are one of the most stable ecosystems on earth. Model forest garden contribute to creating biodiversity, at the same time produce many food products, healthy food for people. The model is being replicated and developed everywhere in order to help restore the land that is deserted and barren by modern farming methods that abuse chemicals and the idea of ​​profit and contribute to environmental protection. .

See also: Ecological agriculture

Emilia Chaney
Emilia Chaney
My name is Emilia Chaney. I'm a social girl from Romania with a big smile and 3 passions: Agriculture, Travel and Social Media. I try to make this blog practical, full of great advice and inspiring ideas.

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