Elven Agriculture

From Dragon Eye Atlas

Elves are more in harmony with nature than humans and it is only natural that they have their own type of agriculture, which most humans would not even recognize as such.

When entering an elven forest, it appears to be exceedingly beautiful. Visitors who stay longer will also notice the abundance of fruit- or nut-bearing trees, bushes full of berries and other plenty. Most non-elves never understand that both the beauty and the abundance are artificially created by elven farmers.

But first, one has to understand that elves do not farm plots or fields. To the elven society, the entire forest is a farm, it belongs to everyone and is tended to by everyone, and harvested by all.

The main difference is the approach to plants and fields, though. Elven agriculture works by careful pruning, culling and seeding over long periods of time, mixed with a few other techniques such as controlled burns or flooding and magic. Instead of fields with crops, this technique slowly transforms the entire forest. It will have the exact right mix of dense undergrowth and open clearings for hunting, the proper mix of fruit trees, bushes with berries and other useful vegetation. It will have the strong, broad trees that elves like to build their houses in. What looks like a paradise that the gods gave to the elves was, in fact, grown that way, manipulating the forest over hundreds of years to provide what the elves living in it needed.

Much of this is invisible to the untrained eye. There are clearings and control lines to prevent wildfires from spreading far. There are groves and thickets in the exact proportion required for the animals desired. Wood is cleared or left intentionally. Even the location of bee hives and other pollinating insects is controlled. The forest might look wild and natural, but it is actually as extensively cared for and planned as any farm.

This all happens without any central planning. Elves feel themselves responsible for the forest where they live, the local area. They also naturally merge it with the surroundings managed by other families or tribes, a fact made easier by elves not thinking in strict borders. Elves see borders as natural or flowing boundaries. The elves of Oujda do not even have a clearly defined border for their realm. While some areas are clearly inside the realm and some outside, none of them could point to a precise spot where one ends and the other begins. The border, to them, is "somewhere here" or "through this clearing", but never a precise line. In some places, it can be miles wide, or it can move with the local vegetation. This attitude is also applied to land management. Between different elven families, tribes and villages, there are large areas of overlap, but no conflict. The border zones are simply managed by both, in harmony with each other's plans. This way, an entire realm is managed locally, but as one at the same time.