Definition: A type of map that shows an aerial ‘bird’s eye’ view of a field to help farmers plan how they will map out space in their Forest Garden.
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 use them to inform the initial design and help them determine where to plant trees. Then, throughout the program, they revisit their designs to strategically fill in gaps as they improve and optimize their sites.
When designing a top view map, farmers begin by including the following:
Field Boundaries – Having the initial perimeter mapped out is an important first step.
Cardinal Directions – Knowing the orientation at which the map was drawn is helpful in planning for things like sunlight/shade, wind, etc.
Key Physical Features – This may include manmade structures, water sources, immovable physical features, current vegetation, topography, low points where water may collect, etc.
Neighboring Areas – Nearby activities may affect the success of your Forest Garden, so it is important to identify potential challenges such as neighbors rearing bees, using pesticides, or grazing animals.
Once this “Base Map” is created, Forest Gardeners can add to the design to include: