[Narrator] We need to have
a good look at this canopy, because it’s going to change. What we’re going to do
with the cooler weather, and a tiny bit of rain last night, we’ve had some good rain already. We’re going to start
cutting these trees here. This is Leucaena, there’s a bee actually, feeding on the flower. Carrying some good pollen on its legs. This tree is our main legume
now as it’s in function, and we’re going to fast-track its function by cutting it as a high pollard. This canopy is going to radically change, I’m taking this one last chance to show you what it looks like now. And we’ve already started here. And this is the degree of cut, there’s one there that
needs to be tidied up. I won’t leave it like that. We’re going to cut a Leucaena
right down to high pollards. This is what we did last year. This one’s been done. This one’s in process being cut, half off. This one’s just been cut. You can see the green material,
38% green leaf protein. Very high in nitrogen, one of the highest trees
in the world, this one. But this is how you can use most legumes. Good quality legume trees
that function are regrowing. He’s Tunisian, but lives in Qatar, and has been working at
the Qatar University. Let me just show you
this huge Leucaena here. Have a look how much
material grew in one year. All of that grew in one year. This tree was cut right down, that’s a lot of material. That’s probably a fifth of a
ton, or something like that, if you got it on the ground. We’re starting to cut it again, it’ll be cut right back down. So, there’s the material being cut up. And we’ll actually get a
bit of firewood out of it. Here’s almost a small log. Now, we could chop that
up into small lengths, and sell it as a firewood log dried off, won’t take long in this
climate to dry off. And that actually fetches a good price. So, that’s a yield, but
what we’re doing is, we’re designing the way the forest falls. We’re feeding the soil, we’re
managing our main stock, animals which are the
organisms in the soil. Now, this here, is another one. Star performer, look at that! Look how much material there is up there! That’s four meters in height, and all that stem. And you can see where
it was cut last year. So this is going to open the canopy, this is going to open it right up. Big, wide, right up there, almost as tall as a two-story building. All grown in 12 months. Okay, so we’re in chop and drop mode, we’re chopping and
dropping our legume trees, but this one was done a month ago. Can you believe that? Leucaena regrowth in one month. What we want is a nice, clean regrowth of just a few shoots. We did leave one here, a long shoot here, because we wanted it
to climb to go up here, and go up above us. But, what happens is, there’s
a bit of arboriculture we could do conveniently here. We have all these shoots, and if we let all these go, they’re going to be kind
of getting in the way of the food forest. So at this stage, there’s
a really convenient way of pruning this, which
is just to break it off. And just like plants, fast-growing legumes often have tips that are
almost a basis on the end. But that’s the great fertilizer material. So, we don’t want branches at the bottom, so at this early stage,
we can just cut them off. Now, you can walk through your food forest after you chop and drop, and just casually go through once a week, and pull all these, and
only leave the top ones. Now, even these, we’re
going to cut through later. I’m literally going to shape it, I’m going to cut that one, I’m just going to leave one
to go up there, for a climber. So, if we keep doing this, cleaning off, we’ll get nice scar tissue
going over these cuts. And it will behave itself,
it will stop doing it. Now, if we just zoom over this way, we’ve got one here that’s
been completely cut. These just been done, but these little branches here, what I like to do, I like to come in, and cut these little branches, these could have been cut earlier, because there’s only enough photosynthesis for a few long, big branches to go up. We just want a few big long ones, We don’t want lots and lots
of little ones around the cut. So, these ones can come off. If you’re quick enough,
they can come off like this. We can just break them
off at an early stage. If you leave it too
long, you’ll be in here with a little saw cutting them off. Let’s go and have a look
at what they look like when they’re well-cut
and behaving properly. Because this is a big function, this works amazingly well. Now this one here, we’ve cut
the small stems off already, but it produced these three big branches, nice and clean, almost straight up. So, the papaya can grow underneath, and the fruit trees can grow underneath. We’ve manicured it to
behave the right way. But it had all these little
branches that were left. They could have been
just pulled off by hand, you wouldn’t even need to cut them if you got them early enough. Because, the fast carbon path of this tree just had enough energy to produce those three really big chunky branches. All in one year, all that
material in one year. That’s a lot of wood,
that’s a lot of carbon going down in the ground. That’s a lot of organic
matter, that’s a lot of humus. You’re feeding the soil, you’re designing the way the forest falls, and a forest grows on a fallen forest. The soil is an animal that’s all mouth. And the fungi, the
teeth that eat the wood. And the fungi have big, long mycelium webs that actually keep the
soil nicely structured, and in really good life-rich form. So, that’s actually what we’re doing, we’re foresters designing
forest-friendly soil. Through the fast functions of these weedy-type legume species. They’re fast carbon pathways
we’re putting to work. That’s all it is. [Narrator] The chop and
drop is well underway. We’ve got quite a few trees already down, we’re cutting a hibiscus here. That hibiscus tiliaceus. All this material’s going down as mulch. And it’s really opening up the canopy. Meanwhile, we’ve got a
beautiful sunset going. We’ve got Adam here,
looking at pruning out quite a lot of this large Jerusalem Thorn. It’s the last large thorny legume on site. It’s a nice central shade tree. A lot of material going down. The top taken out of that one. And on they go around the site, the canopy’s opening. And the niter-rich mulch is going down. This one will be cut right out, but one of its stump cuts so far. Small branches going down here, Omar’s putting them down on top of a drip vine of an olive
here, and a small citrus. And we’ve got another team
up here improving irrigation. Typically, arboriculture
sites are always evolving. In this landscape particularly,
irrigation is crucial. It’s just refinement after refinement, improvement after improvement, as we get the result we want, we just keep allowing the site to demonstrate its evolutions. And we dynamically adjust. That’s very typical arboriculture. Now, on a demonstration site, the dynamics are quite extreme. And we’ve got lots and lots of piles of sticks and branches. Some are going to go in the spiky pit. And some are going to go
for firewood and biochar. Some are just going to go down as mulch. There are lots of options. The sunlight’s coming in, we’re all ready to receive
any winter rain that comes. The legumes are going to regrow,
and give us some lovely shade by the time the temperatures of the summer start to increase. Here’s our system after the chop and drop. You can see now how much
we’ve opened up the canopy by taking out the legume trees, and leaving them as pollards. All the mulch has gone down, and the sunlight’s coming in. And that gentle sunlight of winter is going to drive the system
forward by springtime, when the temperature comes back up. It’s going to be nice and
shady to get through summer.