It has been a long while since we gave you all an update--our apologies! Here's where the coppice agroforestry book stands now. Mark and I continue to plug away. We are in the "deep middle" of the project now, which can be a challenging space, but we steadily progress. Without getting into too much detail: Daniel and I continue to refine the databases: we have finished the in-breath phase (i.e. we've collected all the information we plan to in order to build this immense resource) and we've been synthesizing and editing all our collected information for a while now. At the same time, the first four (out of a total of 8) chapters have been fully fleshed out with all relevant info from the 700 scientific papers we gathered and over 40 books integrated into Mark's brain dump (this is essentially our third manuscript edit), and meanwhile Dave is editing those chapters to find and fill gaps, smooth out the writing and attempt to cut the word count down to size, making for a more readable, information-dense resource. Additionally, to help ensure our book meets the practical needs of growers, we have also set up a small group of farmers to act as manuscript reviewers starting in spring. Their feedback will help inform our final manuscript edits which we anticipate will happen in the summer or early fall of 2014.
All of this of course takes considerable time, and both Mark and I have been winding up for an especially big push this winter. To assist us towards that end and help guide and support our manuscript development, we are pleased to report that we have begun negotiations on a contract with a publisher. And a few days ago we submitted a USDA SARE grant that will hopefully secure some additional funding come March of next year. We've also been setting up a nonprofit fiscal agent to help us fundraise for the project - we hope that each of these combined will allow us to work on the project full time--which, if we can do that, would mean we can have the manuscript complete and submitted to the publisher in a year or so.
Thanks again for your support and for your patience! We feel excited about what we are producing, and we feel confident your investment in us will be well rewarded by the outcome of the project.
Below is a screen shot of the species editing layout for Table 1.1 of our databases, showing you the data we've pulled together for the basic table of North American (and a few other) species (834 species right now)--this is where you will go when you have a list of the species on your land and you want to know whether they resprout or not, how they resprout (that is, which resprout physiology they have, and therefore how one manages them), and how to propagate them. Table 1.2 will have fewer species than this; it will include all known decently-resprouting and reasonably useful species, their tolerances and preferences, and an index to which other tables in the book have detailed information on their uses. Use tables will include: timber uses and wood quality, basketry uses, firewood uses and quality, edible and medicinal uses, uses by native people for craft and artifacts ("ethnobotanical uses"), woody ornamental cut flower uses, fodder use and nutrient content, other uses, and toxicity. All of these tables are now in various stages of the editing and consolidation phase. Table 1.1 is virtually complete! A few more days of doublechecks and final species choices and it should be done, at least for now! Needless to say, this is pretty grueling work, but it's fun in some ways too, and satisfying to have turned the corner into the long home stretch and made some progress down that stretch.
Peace and blessings! And Happy Thanksgiving to all of you folks in the USA--we extend our thanks to you for your ongoing support.
Dave and Mark