Draft Animal Power – Draft animals and sustainable land stewardship › Forums › Draft Animal Powered Forestry International › Silviculture for Sustainability › Silviculture for Sustainability
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- December 3, 2009 at 12:37 pm #41143
I think an important aspect of this group will be our position on how to cut the timber. We certainly would be happy to present our NTMP’s approach of how we identify the trees on a “worst first” individual tree basis. This system could be refined on a regional forest type basis and everyone can have their own way of describing improvement forestry best practiced by animal powered practitioners anywhere.
As Carl has suggested and I agree – I don’t care about helping people that are just “horse loggers”, but want to help animal powered practitioners become the superior forestry management people on the planet.
So this is an issue I suggest as being in the forefront of our work. Let’s occupy the high ground here animal powered folks.
Thanks for all your work on this Carl and Scott.
Sincerely,December 12, 2009 at 2:15 pm #55816
Since going to another web site and reading stuff there may be more than some folks will do I will post the Nature’s Tree Marking Paint, Indicator system of common sense single tree selection method.
The point is that this is an example of how we train Biological Woodsmen to identify the “worst first” trees. This is not just a random thing, it is an experiential learned collection of indicators observed prior to cutting a tree down and the confirmed in the observations after the tree is turned into a log.
This method is expressly created for the Appalachian Oak Hickory Hemlock forest type and is intended to be applied in that forest type. There is a good opportunity for others in other forest types to develop an indicator system of declining, low performing trees in/for their particular forest type.
Another important issue about this method of improvement harvesting or what we call “Restorative Forestry”, is that it fits the objectives of many Non-industrial private forest landowners. So their satisfaction with the timber harvesting methods and the results of an improved faster growing and income generating forested condition, may lead to a reduction of stumpage paid for the “worst first” trees on what we call a sliding scale. We only pay for the timber when it reaches a raw log value about what we want on a per thousand basis to harvest the timber. We would like to make 250.00 per thousand to harvest in most settings and that is where we start paying for the wood, on a percentage basis. The services of restorative forestry are so beneficial in the long term value and immediate enhanced natural appearance of the forest that most landowners are happy with getting paid to improve their forest.
I am sure we could have further discussions about this approach in response to this post.
The point is that animal powered forestry must differentiate itself from mechanized harvesting and the silviculture of how to cut the timber is the logical starting point. We will never out produce a machine so why try? We don’t want to suffer the John Henry syndrome, where we work hard to compete with a machine and die from the effort like the John Henry story.
So this is the beginning of discussions of how we see the best silviculture or how we cut the timber and make a living as animal powered forestry practitioners.
Thanks for taking the time to read this material if you are interested in practicing superior forestry. I look forward to the discussions.
Sincerely,January 22, 2010 at 11:03 pm #55836jacParticipant
Hi . I read your post with great interest.. I know this is small scale but its a start.. We have been given permission to extract firewood from a local farmers wood. We can take out the odd mature ash which I will slab up and season and all the fire wood we need. So far I have tidied up an area of 100yds x 70yds. The wood was originaly on a large estate and is a mixture of scots pine, ash, beech,silver birch and sycamore. My plan was to preserve the wood as an amenity wood and woodlot for firewood for future generations. I have brashed everything up to over head height with the view to make the wood more accessable to people wanting to walk there. The horses have done a great job and done no damage to speak of. Come late spring the bluebells are stunning and I want to preserve that. I have 50 ash whips comming on monday. I certainly dont profess to be a horse logger but know I want to improve this wood. As I said it is very small scale but if we can preserve this small corner then its a start. I look forward to reading more. cheers
JohnFebruary 22, 2010 at 12:37 pm #55817
How climate change may be effecting tree growth.
~February 26, 2010 at 11:45 pm #55825
Returning to silviculture, I would like to share thoughts on working spruce/fir stands with other folks cutting in the northern forest – if such there be.
In my experience there are two commonly applied silvicultural treatments, patch cuts and single tree selection thinning. Both tend to yeild a high pulp to log ratio on the landing.
Anybody found a way to squeeze more value out of these treatments than the standard return on pulp and logs?
If you haven’t, have you found a way to increase production enough to take in say $250 a day?February 27, 2010 at 12:04 am #55834mitchmaineParticipant
hey rick, probably you know that in a stand of nothing but sp/fir the minute you cut two, the rest start blowing over. a tough tree to thin. our forester never even marked the fir, or the popple either. there was an understanding that you could cut as much as you wished. fir was paying $100/cd. roadside a few years ago and my neighbor just got $1300 for a truckload of popple groundwood. but the markets fill up fast with shears and grapple skidders so its hard to count on anything for long.February 27, 2010 at 2:55 am #55826
Yeah, they windthrow pretty easy. Up here they mark mostly fir and favor spruce. And they don’t mark heavy. Take the fir at 10-12 inches and leave the spruce to get up to around 16.
We have mostly red spruce and that does root a little better than fir or black spruce. I’ve been back to some of the lots I’ve done, and they have held up fairly well but not totally. The patch cuts work great for regen.
Production is a challenge when you’re only taking around 30% of the wood. Lately I’ve been trying a scoot for some of the 8ft pulp and odd sticks of hardwood, but pulling tree-length with the cart is generally the fastest for me even with the time it takes to swamp trails.
Markets are tough. I got shafted on a load of popple groundwood this summer. They gave me a hardwood pulp price, but the trucker said they made him unload at the popple pile. GRRR. I did get in on the high price of softwood pulp for a short while. Diesel was high at the time though, and trucking was around $500 a load. But even then it was sweet for a while.
Anyway, anybody else out there dealing with these issues in the northern forest?
Found a way to increase the value of your silvicultural services?
Found a way to increase production?February 28, 2010 at 4:46 pm #55819
I am not northerly enough to run into true spruce/fir cover-type, but we do get fairly dense red spruce growth around here. My primary observation is that people tend to leave “dog hair” stands too long before thinning. Spruce and fir will grow quite well in very dense conditions, but without thinning they develop narrow crowns and therefore narrow root systems. Then when stems reach marketable diameter the harvests are limited to strips of small diameter wood, and primarily focused on regen.
I have taken several stands on my property, and on some clients, and conducted TSI starting at 3-6″ DBH. I have cut thousands of red spruce fence posts… not the longest lived, but a great use of my labor… but generally I just cut’em and leave’em. What I have found is that I get much better formed red spruce trees with better natural spacing, so that as the stands mature I can actually thin using single tree selection, of trees that are large enough to make the harvest more affordable.
I realize that if you are working for consultants who can’t see their way to suggesting LO’s invest in TSI, then the equation doesn’t work, but it boggles my mind that these individuals whose practice it is to manage living systems don’t see how their choices are limiting the outcome…. perpetually.
I would just start to be blunt with LO in your area…. the foresters they are working with are not serving their best interests. You can offer services that make sense and deliver real results without having to add the cost of consultant supervision. There are ways to mimic the best of natural processes. We have all been in spr/fir stands where mature trees are larger, healthier, and can respond to thinning. Just because spr/fir stands are also prone to overgrowth of small weak trees that blow down in clumps, does not mean that this is the best silvicultural model to replicate.
One of the reasons why I find animal powered forestry so attractive to me as a resource manager is because I can cost effectively combine non-commercial silviculture with commercial harvest based silviculture. This is something that expensive production oriented mechanical operations just can’t do. We must stop allowing the crutches that machine depend on to define the way we practice forestry with draft animals.
CarlFebruary 28, 2010 at 5:30 pm #55827
Thanks for the thoughtful reply. You hit the nail on the head regarding pre-commercial thinning. It’s not on screen for any forester I’ve had contact with.
Because I have no formal forestry training, I’ve been reluctant to bill myself as a silviculturalist. That is going to change. In fact it’s the motivation behind my earlier post. I’m ruminating on trying to sell interventions like managing feed and cover in deer yards, and maintaining healthy stands in riparian zones where the mechanical guys have taken the best and left the rest for “water quality.”
I hope to hear some other ideas from folks in similar situation. I know around here, I’ve got to find new ways to justify the cost of any intervention. I can’t keep going much longer with traditional harvesting.February 28, 2010 at 8:59 pm #55818
I wonder if you could char the bottom portion of those softwood fence post and get them to last longer? The old timers down here burnt the portion that was in the topsoil level and the locust post would last a lifetime. It’s allot of hand labor, but certainly makes locust last longer. Give you something to do with slash right on site maybe.
Call’em DRAFTWOOD Charpost! Naturally preservation enhanced!
I don’t know maybe insects get it above the ground? Maybe put a big vat on site and cook em in some boric acid water, somehow using the same fire to do it all? All part of a fire risk reduction program? I don’t know just thinking out loud here.
If we can figure out how to make the junk be something more than pulpwood or chips we could improve allot of woods.
The pressure treated stuff coming out of the southeast is mostly low grade Va. pine. The stuff is probably toxic and will end up in our water eventually. People don’t like them, they just don’t have other options.
Weather whine – Our snow is still here, when it blows away and piles up somewhere else, it exposes about four inches of ice with footprints from months ago. Winter on the high Blue Ridge is brutal. We can travel about ten miles away eastward and there is bare ground.
Some guys are still working though it down here and getting out a couple of loads a week. Just depends on where you are at. We just can’t get off the place at the moment.
I loved Carl’s line “There are ways to mimic the best of natural processes.”
and Joel’s “there goes the neighborhood”.
Hope everyone is doing well out there.
~February 28, 2010 at 9:26 pm #55828
Along the lines of making something out of junk, what I’ve been thinking is how to get paid twice for removing the junk. For example getting paid once by the mill and once by the DNR for improving deer habitat.
Any experience in this area?
We’ve got a fragrant species around here called cat spruce. It smells like a litter box.March 1, 2010 at 2:40 pm #55820Rick Alger;16211 wrote:….Because I have no formal forestry training, I’ve been reluctant to bill myself as a silviculturalist. ……
What a couple of decades of working with trees, personal contact with the effects of different silvicultural prescriptions, and field observations is not enough?
You don’t have to convince anybody of anything other than that you know how to grow trees, you have proven capability as a low impact harvester, and that you have better ideas than the industry clones they’ve been working with.
Many of my clients are farmers, or logger landowners who do all the work on their own land, and they want to have their land in the VT Current Use Program. They hire me because they know I won’t come in there and tell them how they need to change what they have been doing for years, which is exactly what most consultants want to do.
This has helped to solidify for me that “forestry” is an artistic practice, surely based on some scientific principles (nothing beyond the comprehension of the average person), but none the less hugely judgment-based. The assumption is that college educated foresters, and certified foresters, are somehow more adept at practicing the art, while the truth is that they have mostly just bought into the industrial boilerplate model, and spruce/fir management is a perfect example.
I also work with a couple of skidder operators who have really fine sense about forest management, one actually calls his business Holbrook Forest Management. He doesn’t write management plans, but he is very astute about the way that forests grow, and his evaluations of current growing conditions are quite accurate, and his work shows it. There is no doubt he pisses off the local foresters, but I have, and will continue to turn work his way.
I don’t have experience working in your area, but I would say that all you need are a few landowners to go along with your ideas, and things will fall into place.
CarlMarch 1, 2010 at 3:50 pm #55821Joel;16254 wrote:Call me elitist. BS Forest Mgmt Colo St U ’74. I have a little problem with technicians calling themselves foresters.
Having said that I know lots of woods rats with no formal training except they have been in the brush most of their life.
I can see your point, but I have a greater problem with people who have the education to be considered “Forester” taking advantage of cultural assumptions and just practicing timber sale administration and calling it silviculture.
I appreciate the hard work and integrity that go into developing ones self as a legitimate practitioner, and I don’t appreciate people who try to sell themselves as similar just because of the tag they wear.
The difference for me is that I see the slight-of-hand coming from those with the background as well as from those without it.
And I am prepared to acknowledge when someone gets it, regardless of their background.
The hold that professionals get on their professions purely from label does not reflect their capability, and it doesn’t serve any of us effectively. A crook with a license is still a crook.
CarlMarch 1, 2010 at 5:25 pm #55835mitchmaineParticipant
carl, you said that very well, crystal clear, and i agree totally.
once you choose your hat it’s up to you how well you wear it.
i’ve known lots of loggers, horses and machines, and some loogers with machinery were wizards. doing good clean jobs and making a living, too. it’s not about the horse, he’s just a tool that you can choose to use well or not.
we used to have state foresters working on salary who would come and mark your woodlot for you. that program ended in the 70’s and they went into private practice. it was amazing how their marking changed when they were working on shares. even though i think they were all good foresters, how you make your money effects us all.March 1, 2010 at 9:34 pm #55829
Cat spruce is picea glauca. Same color foliage as norway, but a smaller tree without the drooping branches. Much tangier smell. It tends to be tapered and knotty. Okay for sawlogs and pulp. Never heard of it being used for veneer. They don’t often get much over a foot dbh.
There is no market here for softwood veneer. There is a clapboard mill over Carl’s way that pays a premium for clear red spruce butts, but I’ve never had enough at one time to deal with them. I would guess 99.9 percent of the softwood logs harvested in the northeast are milled for construction lumber.
As far as dnr people, they are good folks here. The guy I know best spent a winter horse logging. He is an ally. The challenge is competing for small pots of money doled out by suits at the other end of the state.
Regarding wanna be woods around trophy houses, that is a problem. Suburban blight on the rural landscape. I will work for peanuts in the deep woods before I’ll toady to the majority of these new aristocrats. It’s not just class warfare. They are seriously fragmenting the forest environment. I don’t think I could stomach helping them feel “environmentally friendly.”
Thanks for the vote of confidence.
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