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A fence represents a major investment on the small farm. Although it carries a cost, it also provides something of benefit, namely protection. It is often a challenge to small farmers to increase farm production, such as crop yield, and the use of fences can facilitate such improvements. Whereas a fence may facilitate yield increase on the farm, a living fence can improve the efficiency of the production as well.

“Major” fences are usually constructed of poles and wire. “Minor” fences, such as those used for fencing small animals or kitchen gardens, may be constructed entirely of wood, or of a combination of materials, such as poles, slats, and woven or welded wire. Both major and minor fences may be constructed of living posts, reducing initial costs of the fence. Additionally, living posts last longer than wooden (dead) ones, thereby reducing maintenance costs as well.

Living fences are commonly used in a wide range of ecological situations, from semi-arid to rain forest conditions. Suitable plant materials are available for almost all ecological regions and conditions.

--- TN #23



  1. Key Resource
    1991-01-01 There are several reasons for establishing fences on the small farm. Fences are used to: To mark boundary lines between farms or next to roads. To separate adjacent fields used for distinct purposes To protect and keep animals from straying To protect crops from animal damage A fence represents...
  2. 2012-07-01 Fences are established on the small farm for a variety of reasons. They are used to mark boundary lines between farms or next to roads, and to separate adjacent fields used for distinct purposes. Fences are used to protect and keep animals from straying (to keep animals ‘in’), or to protect crops...
  3. 2017-10-23 The following question was asked at ECHOcommunity Conversations (ECHO's new forum): "I'm looking for recommendations for a certain type of crop that might allow me to keep livestock out, but would not overrun crops near it. Anybody have some suggestions?" Network member Roy Danforth shared his...
  4. 1992-04-01 Certain euphorbias cause cancer when planted near the homestead
  5. Gliricidia is a fast-growing, nitrogen-fixing tree up to 15 m in height. It is used for living fences, green manure, fodder, honey production, wind breaks, and fuelwood. This tree tolerates dry, acid, alkaline, and salty soils and was traditionally grown to shade cocoa trees.
  6. The genus Leucaena includes several multipurpose tree species and interspecific hybrids that can withstand almost any type or frequency of pruning or coppicing. They are native to Mexico and Central America, and now abundant in the Philippines, West Africa, Nepal, Australia and Hawaii. Spanish...
  7. Abstract,International Journal of Food Science and Agriculture, 2018 Homegarden is an intensive land use system involving the deliberate management of multipurpose trees and shrubs grown in intimate association with herbaceous species with diverse use value. The aim of this study was to assess...
  8. Abstract,Acta Botanica Brasilica, 2019 Documenting the uses of native species of Cactaceae in Northeast Brazil contributes to understanding how the inhabitants of this seasonally dry and low-rainfall region have used these resources, considering that some species of this family of Cactaceae are...
  9. 2019-11-21 Session :Living fences can offer an affordable and appropriate solution using existing local resources. A range of possibilities in establishing living fences and the many considerations to find the best match will be explored in his talk. Presenter :Dan Janzen is a Pioneers International...

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