The Fifth World

Gardening

Gardening

Most communities in the Fifth World garden to one degree or another, from tossing a few seeds down to extensively managing a forest garden. No one practices agriculture, with its reliance on grain and monocropping, but much of the jungle consists of cultivated ecosystems.

Because dense tropical rainforest covers most of the land, gardening most often involves slash-and-burn techniques to clear space and return nutrients locked up in hardwood trees to the soil. With care, a community can follow this practice sustainably.

Once they have burned a plot, they plant a regular cycle of guilds that, over the course of a generation or more, mimics the natural process of succession. As one plot goes through these stages, they move on to another, allowing each plot to fully recover before burning again. In this way, a cultivated forest maintains a great deal of biodiversity and resilience.