Draft Animal Power – Draft animals and sustainable land stewardship › Forums › Draft Animal Powered Forestry International › Forest Products › Alternative Woods Products/Management Strategies
- July 13, 2011 at 12:18 pm #42931
Going back to what Jason said in the first post of the thread in this forum, there are many products including and excluding traditional timber harvests that can be encouraged and harvested from woodlands. I see many of these products as ways to make woodlands profitable without necessarily needing to treat the woods too heavy-handedly or trying to encourage profitable timber of a specific type in areas where it simply isn’t going to grow.
I think that as people interested in preserving the health of forested systems we need to have a number of different methods of making a forest profitable in our repertoire, not simply always resorting to cutting (especially if landowner’s requests are unreasonable and the site isn’t appropriate). In this way it may be possible to preserve the diversity of forests all the more while still creating incentives for landowners to keep their woods intact and beautiful. I’m thinking about forest gardens (ginseng and golden seal et al., read about some people doing it in a recent issue of Northern Woodlands) managing for brown ash (basketry), witch hazel, various fungal products etc. There are many more that are out there I’m sure, and I would love to hear people’s ideas or experiences. I don’t know if the markets for these products are necessarily out there right now but I think that we can be the leaders in thinking about them and trying to manage forests outside of “the box”.July 13, 2011 at 10:31 pm #68612Carl RussellModerator
I agree with your sentiment, and applaud you for your insight.
I would caution you against thinking in terms of making woodlands “profitable” though, as this usually means that one needs to accept the “expenses” that go along with owning land as important and necessary. For example, if the objective is to see woodland “profitable” then whatever the use, then the value of the outcome will be measured in whether or not the enterprise covers the expenses.
I agree that finding many ways to harvest value from the land allows landowners more ways to enjoy their land, and reduces the need for any one of those uses to be the heavy lifter. Moreover, I really feel that if the objectives are biological diversity and ecological integrity, then finding ways to interact with the land so that those features are protected should be the measure of success.
Obviously, the more money we can make from our land, the easier it is to afford, but if we are truly going to reverse the trend that sucks life out of the earth in the name of economics, then we need to make a commitment to restoring the health of our forests, and in many cases that means the opposite of “profit”.
I know that it can be hard to consider to start blowing that horn as one is considering striking out on a path into a career in forestry, especially as the rest of the economy is trying to convince you that you need to be able to provide services to people so that they can make “profit” from their land. Believe me, I know. However, I found that there were folks who wanted to hear the convictions of a young environmentalist, and with choices that have kept my overall financial obligations low, including the exclusive use of animal power in my personal and professional life, I have found enough truly committed landowners who are willing to make the kinds of investment in their land that it deserves.
CarlJuly 14, 2011 at 10:48 pm #68614
Thanks for your thoughtful response, Carl! I guess I misspoke in saying that we needed to find ways to make woodlands profitable. More than anything, we need to cultivate healthy forests, “healthy” in every way, as always, a first priority. However, I think there is a need for creativity in achieving this end. Part of it is making our “enterprise cover its expenses” as you say. While some landowners are able to invest in their land, paying for TSI work, managing forests like they ideally should be managed, I think that there are a lot out there who aren’t. Another part is trying to do what is best for every woodland, and that may not mean timber harvesting, although I think in many cases it does. A diverse population with diverse woodlands at their disposal require a diversified approach. As someone learning about horse-logging and forestry I want to be able to manage woodlots in a variety of ways, with the end result always being, as Carl said, biological diversity and ecological integrity.
I was also hoping to hear from people who had tried incorporating alternative, perhaps non-timber forest products into their forest management strategies, either in their home woodlot or as part of a job.
–EthanJuly 15, 2011 at 6:03 am #68613Rick AlgerParticipant
There is a guy over your way who buys birch bark on the tree. He comes and peels the bark and leaves the naked stem for you to cut. He runs an ad in Northern Woodlands. I tried to work something out with him once, but the timing was wrong. He peels in the spring, and I was cutting the birch stand in the fall.August 3, 2011 at 12:20 am #68615
Something I’ve heard murmurings of in the academic community is people buying up ecosystem services– people, people with interests in the services (clean air, clean water, animal habitat/habitat continuity, etc.) that a forest (or habitat) provides paying for certain areas of forest to remain forest. They have done this out west, where beer companies bought up water seniority rights to keep water in the streams and the city of New York did something similar by paying for the restoration of forested areas in the catskills that feed their water supply.
Has anyone heard of any thing like this, related to forests, where you are?
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