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Rainforest Fruit

Forest fruit means jobs, food, and trees.
  [vote for,

The destruction of our world's rainforests is commonly attributed to poor countries whose people are trying to make a living (often by burning said forests to make room for agriculture). I propose grafting fruit tree branches to rainforest trees. This will provide plentiful jobs branch grafting and fruit collecting. This will also preserve the rainforests, and provide income from the sale of this fruit.

(added later for clarity) I propose grafting low fruit branches to existing trees. This is done by drilling a branch size hole in such a tree at a low height, removing bark from a few inches of a fruit branch, and covering (better descriptions of branch grafting exist on the internet). This will allow the rainforest tree to absorb sunlight high in the air, and provide the low fruit branch with the necessary nutrients to produce fruit.

Worldgineer, Feb 22 2003

Rainforestweb.org http://www.rainfore...ction/Agribusiness/
"According to a report by Friends of the Earth, as much as 80 percent of global deforestation is caused by conversion of forests into agricultural land." [Worldgineer, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 06 2004]

Brazil nut harvest http://news.bbc.co....usiness/2807293.stm
Eat Brazil nuts. [nichpo, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 06 2004]

Tomatoes are in fact the world's most popular fruit. http://www.didyouknow.cd/tomatoes.htm
fact. [daaisy, Apr 08 2006]


       I see your point, but what's the ratio of fruit trees to non-fruit trees in rainforests? I just don't think it's profitable to wander the forest looking for an avacado. If you graft to all the trees in a given area, it would be comparitively easy to harvest.
Worldgineer, Feb 23 2003

       So you're saying, instead of cutting down all the trees and planting new crops, they should cut most of each tree down and stick new crops on top?   

       This idea is bad for so many reasons. It has no respect for the complex structure of the rainforest. Replacing the Amazonian rain forest with an orange plantation does not preserve the rain forest: it drives away the numerous animals that depend on the existing mix of plants and animals that live in the rainforest.   

       Also, even with those trees that are grown by grafting (such as most citruses), a great deal of thought goes into finding the best rootstock, and there is no guarantee that any of the trees in the rainforest are suitable.
pottedstu, Feb 23 2003

       Durian stinks! I don't care what it tastes like!
cameron, Feb 23 2003

       Ah, I see the problem here. No, I wasn't suggesting we cut down rainforest trees to graft. I was suggesting grafting fruit tree branches on to existing trees. This way the original tree is responsible for collecting sunlight hundreds of feet in the air to supply the low fruit branches with nutrients for fruit. I'll expand on my idea above for you.
Worldgineer, Feb 23 2003

       Dim, [pottedstu] said no such thing. His arguement was based on cutting the trees down to their stumps for grafting. Your mining theory is disputed by my link, and I have more if you'd like. I agree introducing new species would be dangerous, but I would argue much less dangerous than the slashing and burning that is currently taking place.
Worldgineer, Feb 23 2003

       This idea just isn't economically realistic. Hell, it may not even be biologically realistic. First, economies that exist already, who rely entirely on cash-crops are finding it hard enough to stay afloat when they exploit the majority of their farm land. A rainforest economy as you suggest would not be able to compete with strict producers. Second, to address the biological issue, not all trees produce the nutrients to support other ones. What this idea needs is edible parasites.
ImBack, Feb 23 2003

       I disagree. Burning a forest takes time for your crop to grow. Employ cheap labor to graft branches, and you'll have a crop this year. I agree there may be chemical and biological issues with finding suitable grafting partners, but doesn't it make sense to try?
Worldgineer, Feb 23 2003

       [Dim] Grafters would clear rainforests? I don't think you understand my idea. It's to leave the rainforest in place, but graft fruit branches to the existing trees. This provides a way to produce income without clear cutting the forest.   

       [Una] I disagree on your numbers, but applaud the concept. Of course, one of the largest steps you can take is to stop eating meat.
Worldgineer, Feb 24 2003

       Get over it: the only plants and animals that are going to survive into the long term are those that we have a commercial interest in, that feed off our refuse, or that live in marginal lands that we cannot exploit. We have been messing with ecosystems since we arrived on the planet.
DrCurry, Feb 24 2003

       [Dr] Exactly. That's why we need to convert the rain forests into something we have a commercial interest in.   

       [bee] You're safe, at least unless some HBer comes up with cheap imitation honey.
Worldgineer, Feb 24 2003

       [Reaches for bug spray.]
DrCurry, Feb 24 2003

       A small price to pay to keep our trees. Although, once a suitable fruit and grafting method is found there's no reason why corporations would have any advantage over small farmers (it's not like they need bulldozers and logging equipment that are currently used).
Worldgineer, Feb 24 2003

       Every tree type we find a graft partner for is a tree type they won't bulldoze. Looks like we're down to glass-half-empty/half-full issues.
Worldgineer, Feb 24 2003

       Honestly, they'll bulldoze the forest to plant grafted trees...
DrCurry, Feb 24 2003

       That's just plain silly. They'd bulldoze this perfectly good forest to plant trees that will take 30+ years to be large enough to be fruitfull? The advantage to grafting fruit branches on the trees is that there's already a huge tree with a huge surface area of leaves turning sunlight into potential food energy.
Worldgineer, Feb 24 2003

       [Worldgineer], just be a real halfbaker and quit. Give up on this idea, the fishbones are stinking up the place.
ImBack, Feb 24 2003

       Sorry, I caved on halfbakery tag since it was silly in the first place, but I believe in this one. Nobody's given a good reason why it wouldn't work, and until I'm convinced it's a flop I'm staying right here. So go ahead and fishbone away if you must, at the same time piling bonsai birthday cakes with pastry. I'll be right here, defending our forests. Viva la fruit!
Worldgineer, Feb 24 2003

       It is hard to graft outside the family. For example, you can graft an apple to a pear or a plum to a peach but not an apple to a peach, much less an apple to an oak tree. The trees in the rainforest are very diverse, and while some might be able to receive grafts from apple or peach trees, the majority of exotic hardwoods would not.   

       Probably a better idea is to cultivate a market for the rare and unusual fruits which already occur in the rainforest, and have people climb the trees to pick them where they are. There are hundreds of edible fruits I have never tasted. Heck, I am told that there are dozens of different types of mangoes alone.
bungston, May 19 2003

       There are actually already some people doing this sort of thing, but I have only heard about it in temperate forests. Agricultural exploitation of "all of the land" is not very productive because rainforest soil is quite poor, and all of the nutrients are normally recycled by the ecosystem- which is why people get low yields when they clear the land and plant monocrops. If you could do the development work and find compatible species, or even develop new varieties of rainforest fruit that are commercially viable (shippable, etc..), I think it could work quite well. If the suitable species were somewhat spread out, then it wouldn't be any different than maple sugaring or rubber tapping.
Rubegoldberg, Aug 14 2003

       Apparently the world's most popular fruit is the Tomato, Unabubba. Small point I know, perhaps a little late, but still..
daaisy, Apr 08 2006

       (picturing tomato plants dangling off of giant rainforest tree trunks) Ok, maybe tomatos aren't the best candidate. I was thinking more along the lines of avacados or guava.
Worldgineer, Apr 09 2006

       [Worldgineer] Take it from a biologist, your biggest problems will be getting fruit formation (lack of specific insect pollinators, wierd chemicals in the rootstock, trace element paucity in rainforests, light and temperature regimes unsuitable for ripening etc) keeping any fruit that do form (predation, constant humidity above 75% allows fungal attack) and keeping the rootstock alive (relatively short lifespans anyway, constant tramping of workers around the trees will kill them, graft provides ideal infection point, constant introduction of outside pathogens by workers continually in and out of the forest)   

       Lots of other economic reasons too. Better just to leave rainforests completely alone.
ConsulFlaminicus, Apr 09 2006

       [World] clearly means to use existing trees as a means to facilitate fruit farming.
bungston, Apr 09 2006

       I'm with Worldgineer
Voice, Jul 18 2007


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