There are blueberries everywhere this time of year. We have many large bushes in the woods with a few berries on them. They are delicious. Then we ventured out to the cemetery behind out property. We found tons of them! What was different? Why so many more around the cemetery? The answer…EDGE!
Edge is where two different ecosystems overlap. Such as water and land or in the case of the blueberries forest and grassland. These areas are more productive due to the increased energy and bio-diversity at the boundary. In our example the blueberry bushes benefit from the increased access to sunlight. However, they also benefit from the having animals and insects from both the forest and the grassland ecosystems depositing nutrients around them. In some cases unique species are also living on this edge. The easiest example of this in our scenario is a bird flying out to grab a grasshopper and landing on a branch at the edge of the forest. After eating the grasshopper he federalizes the ground with his manure.
In Permaculture, the edge of any system is most productive. Picking berries today was a great way to observe this important principal.
As we design our food forest in the woods, we will be sure to include plenty of edges in the mature blueberry forest to make it more productive.