Three Principles for Reforesting the World - with Brian Fey

"We're going to reforest the world," Brian exclaimed, minutes after I arrived at his home slash farm, nursery, education center and reforestation site.  Bosque Village, meaning 'Forest Village' in its official language of Spanglish, is also an experiment in "living happily and comfortably in a post fossil-fuel world."  Since founding Bosque Village in 2004, Brian's has been proving that humans can coexist with forests.  From his wealth of experience I've complied Brian's "Three Principles for Reforesting the World."

"Plant a Tree!" slogans in a village near a
Conafor restoration site

1. Encourage a Forest-friendly culture – There's no reason why our culture should admire someone who throws footballs more than someone who plants trees. Brian's first strategy is to “make planting trees cool again.” By planting in public places, distributing trees for others to plant and spreading the word through social media, Brian believes our culture will gradually value reforestation as more people understand its importance.  It'll be a exercise in “memetics,” Brian says, meaning the spread of ideas. (I.e memes). 

2. Earn income from forests – As much as we hope idealism will drive world reforestation, economics are a much more powerful motivator. “We have to find ways to make forests worth more,” says Brian. “We're in a competition against industrial agriculture.” Why would a small landowner for example, who has a family to feed, preserve a mostly unused forest when he can clearcut and replace it with a profitable avocado plantation? Conserving and restoring forests has to make economic sense; “it has to pencil out,” as Brian often says. By calculating inputs and outputs, by considering costs in time and labor as well as money, he can prove composting toilets are more efficient than flush, for example, or that solar water heaters are less costly than gas. “I'm not dogmatic, I'm just interested in the equations,” says Brian. The equations will especially tilt in favor of sustainable methods in the future, when industrial methods lose their major advantage: cheap energy through fossil fuels.

In the case of sustainably profiting from forests, honey, pine resin, charcoal, furniture, a variety of artesanal goods like carved wooden masks and pine-needle baskets, as well as fruits, nuts and vegetables, are all products from Bosque Village. Further income sources include tourism and education, operating the Bosque as a retreat, nature center, yoga studio, language school, or training center for permaculture, forestry or any number of skills.

A day's harvest in the Bosque's 'forest fire garden.'
A journalist interviewing Alicia about the Bosque's
 products at the local market.

3. Plant for Climate Change
“The plants here now weren't here 10,000 years ago,” said Brian. And given the current rate of climate change, they may not be here much longer. “If all these pines die in 100 years,” pointing to the surrounding hills, “Michoacán would become desert.” Therefore, Brian advocates raising plants from a wider variety of climates around the world. These “biodiversity incubaters” would ensure something would survive if the existing vegetation became unsuitable in a changed climate. At Bosque Village, Brian currently has over 350 species of plants identified and hopes to introduce many more (with care not to spread invasive species). “I want the most powerful trees here from around the world,” says Brian.

Yours truly gathering yuca seeds for the nursery.
[see Trees of Mexico]
Earning a living, earning respect from society, surviving climate disaster—these Principles serve as motives to reforest the world.  Progressing simultaneously are the means to do so, as this blog details.  Beyond that, we must entirely “redesign culture to be compatible with forests,” a topic Brian has written about extensively [see links below].

Further Reading


Related Articles at Next Succession:
-Reforesting for Monarch Habitat: La Cruz Nursery
-Communities Protecting Monarch Preserves
-Forests for Communities; Reforestation at El Carmen
-Conserving a Valuable Lake: Yuriria, Mexico


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  4. Nice idea to have a garden to stay close to the nature and be inspired by the beautiful flower birds bees that would accompany along giving such wonderful inspiration to us all.