Positive impact forestry is the topic for today’s post.
We spent a lot of time in the woods today with Tim and a friend. We were moved with the inspiring wisdom of how to properly tend and care for a healthy forest, and how human impact can actually be a positive thing. Forestry at the homestead, or the part of it where we fell trees, is fundamentally different from the kind of commercial logging operations that strip acre after acre bare of everything alive. Forestry on a sustainable scale is often talked about as “low impact,” but we rather think of it as positive impact. It suggests to us that our work always contributes to the long-term health, beauty, and usability of the woods.
Positive-impact forestry helps the woods to sustain itself and all life forms in it, including humans. It helps balance the competition among species, it creates adequate sunlight for new and healthy growth, it encourages wildlife by supporting trees and shrubs that provide wildlife feed, and it helps manage water supply. We learned that our work in the woods starts long before we get the chainsaw and ax out. We have to start by being out in the forest to merely observe and contemplate.
We are looking for healthy trees that we can help to thrive and that will be beneficial both to us and their surroundings in the future. We like to promote certain species of trees because of their longevity and value as a building material, so we try to reduce competition around them. We also like to promote nut bearing trees, which can feed both wildlife and our pigs. We’ve begun to appreciate that most of these trees have been there for a very long time and would ultimately remain for much longer. It might not even take a minute to fell something that’s been standing longer than I have been around, but once it’s down, it’s down. Look twice, cut once!