4: Multipurpose trees
All trees are multipurpose. They bring subsoil nutrients to the surface, provide shade, and slow erosion. Many trees provide fodder, living fenceposts, fruit and other edible parts, shade, insecticides, and wood; they all have some role in soil stabilization and offer quality- of-life benefits like beauty and a shelter for informal gatherings. Working with trees is an important investment which can be significant to the future of your community. Developing agroforestry systems, tree nurseries, and fruit and nut tree species is most appropriate for those with a long-term commitment in an area. Learning the valued qualities of the trees already present in and native to your area is a good starting point. Ask about the best local woods for fuel, construction, musical instruments, stakes, and other uses; ask children about the season and flavor of native fruits. Observe closely how various species are propagated, harvested, and protected. This chapter gives ideas and information on the many uses of trees in agricultural systems, various species, and working with trees.
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