This month in Agroforestry Word of the Week, we will be exploring some tools used in facilitation and design.

Top View Map

January 5, 2022

Top View Map - noun

Definition: A type of map that shows an aerial view of a field to help farmers plan how they will map out space in their Forest Garden. After the initial design, it can be used in future years to help fill horizontal gaps, making the most use of space.

Top View Maps in the Forest Garden:

Farmers in the Forest Garden Program rely on top view maps throughout the four-year program. First, they rely on it to inform the initial design and help them determine where to plant trees. Then, throughout the program, they revisit and reevaluate their designs to improve and optimize them.  

When designing a top view map, farmers begin by including the following: 

  1. Field Boundaries – Having the initial perimeter mapped out is an important first step.

  1. Cardinal Directions – Knowing the orientation at which the map was drawn is crucial.  

  1. Key Physical Features – This may include manmade structures, water sources, immovable physical features, current vegetation, etc... 

  1. Neighboring Areas – It is possible that activities next to you may affect your Forest Garden, it is important to identify such activities like neighbors rearing bees or using pesticides. 

Then, once they have this “Base Map” they can design on top of it, adding: 

  1. The Living Fence
  2. Alley and Contour Tree Lines 
  3. Permagarden Areas 
  4. Fruit Trees 
  5. Tree Nursery Areas 
  6. Composting Areas 

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