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Byron Joel on the fascinating coevolution of humans and oak trees


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Welcome to a special episode edition of this ongoing series focusing on tree planting and agroforestry. So far I’ve had a lot of interviews talking about tree and perennial systems and we’ve mostly looked at things from a macro perspective. Today we’ll take a closer look at one of the most incredible families of plants that are present in the majority of temperate ecologies around the world, the family Quercus, more commonly known as oaks. 

Here to give us a window into the undervalued world of oak trees as well as a glimpse into how humans have formed relationships and uses for this incredible plant that have shaped our own cultures and evolutionary trajectory is Byron Joel an internationally recognised author, media presenter and leader in the field of Ecological-Agriculture.

For over 15 years he has worked, consulted, designed and taught across four continents. In 2011 he was resident Manager of Horticulture at the PERMACULTURE RESEARCH INSTITUTE OF AUSTRALIA and in 2012 transitioned to the same position at the sister institute in New Zealand. He has over 1000 hours teaching and presenting on regenerative agriculture in Australia, the USA, Africa and New Zealand.

Byron acts as managing consultant for Oak Tree Designs, assisting in the greater eco-agricultural movement as systems designer and consultant, focussing on the Mediterranean regions of his home nation, Australia, where he advocates for a greater recognition, honoring and implementation of Indigenous Australian land stewarding practices.

This is a special episode, much the same as last week, because it comes from one of my favorite episodes from one of my favorite podcasts, The Plant Report with my dear friend Jill Cloutier. The Plant Report is an educational podcast about plants, herbal medicine, ethnobotany and the human-plant relationship highlighting the fact that every plant has a story. 

Jill has such a wealth of knowledge and love for plants herself that when she gets together with others to talk about the wonderful world of vegetative life you can count on podcast magic. Since I can hardly hope to improve on Jill’s exceptional interviewing style from her two shows, The Plant Report and Sustainable World Radio, I reached out to ask if she would allow me to rebroadcast her session with Byron and she generously agreed. 

Jill and I, along with our friend and colleague Scott Mann from The Permaculture Podcast have teamed up to form the Regenerative Media Alliance, a union of independent media producers working to broadcast regenerative solutions across the world. If you’re interested in learning from seasoned pros in independent regenerative media production, be sure to stick around until the end where I’ll share more information about this alliance and give you the early signup information for the RMA’s professional development conference. 

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