Full Vigor Forestry – From the Forest Owner’s Point of View

Video Series

A timber grower in Wisconsin has produced a video series for forest owners that gives a different approach to management than what landowners normally see. 
“Common sense, practical, simple, and profitable forestry is featured in Full Vigor Forestry.

“At Timbergreen Farm, we have taken the best ideas from the best forest managers around the world, and used them for our own benefit, not the benefit of big industry,” states forest owner Jim Birkemeier.  “The bottom line is that as timber growers, we do things just the opposite of what is traditional industrial forest management in the U.S.”

Using common sense language and simple ideas from everyday life, Birkemeier explains Full Vigor Forestry – Sustainable Forest Management from the Forest Owner’s Point of View.  He focuses on growing timber, improving annual growth, proper spacing of trees, and harvesting up to one tree per acre each year - always starting with the worst tree first.  Just the natural output of the forest is utilized, with never any pressure from industrial demand.

The results are clear – the timber on their family farm is growing at four times the rate of the average forest in the region, and the quality growth is even more dramatic.  “We let the good trees grow as long as they are healthy and vigorous – there is no size or age that a tree is mature,” teaches Birkemeier.  “This produces a beautiful forest that naturally regenerates and provides everything a forest owner could wish for.”

The second DVD in the series shows Arthroscopic Logging tools and techniques.  Small machinery is used and heavy equipment never leaves the extensive woods trail system, protecting the forest soils.  Old fashioned tools – logging arches, levers, wheels, and even true Belgian horsepower are used – picking the best method for each situation. Modern improvements - like adding a radio control to the tractor winch - make these tools even more efficient.  “No damage logging is essential to responsible long-term forestry,” adds Birkemeier. 

Another video soon to be released - shows a recommended method of timber felling that is safer for the worker, and protects the valuable butt log of the tree from splitting.  Directional felling as originally taught by Swede Soren Erickson, gives the forest manager another important method to maximizing the annual income from the timber.

Several themes in the first three videos totally change the experience of the forest owner.  The first is that the timber grower is fully informed, understands forestry, and controls that management of their resource - not trusting some outside “expert” to do the right thing for them.  Second is producing an annual harvest and an annual income, to keep the grower active in the wood business.  Third, the same timber harvester returns every year to do more work, so there is an incentive to do the right thing and grow high value timber.  The small annual harvests never create a significant mess or damage the land.  The forest gets more productive and beautiful each year.

Birkemeier gets the hopes of his audience quite high with excitement – then hits them with a shocking message.  “Full Vigor Forestry is not possible in the traditional timber market – no professional forester can offer this to you.  A forest owner must learn to earn these benefits – no government program or grant will give it to you!”  The rest of the video series shows how a forest owner can create a new market for their wood, where Full Vigor Forestry becomes very profitable and fun.

“We cut out every middleman/forester/broker/shipper/retailer – and keep all the money for ourselves!”   Birkemeier continues, “We earn ten times what a timber buyer would pay for our best standing trees, one hundred times the value of average quality trees, and one thousand times the stumpage rate of small diameter timber.”  This can earn a forest owner an annual income of hundreds or even thousands of dollars per acre – every year.

DVDs in the series give information on Sawmilling Logs into Lumber, Kiln Drying Lumber with Solar Energy, Manufacturing High Value Wood Products on the Family Farm, Installing Flooring in the Customer’s Home, and Direct Marketing of Wood Products – to the Homeowner.  While critics say this is all way too complex for the average forest owner, Birkemeier has simplified each step to the most efficient method possible.

“My goal is to show other forest owners that there is an alternative to big industrial timber management that works to their advantage – not some distant corporation.  Here at Timbergreen Farm, we offer hands-on-the-job training for those who want to actually learn how to do these things.  Those families that complete Timber Techniques Training see that this is not all that difficult and leave here with the confidence “We can do that too!”

Information on this new DVD series is at www.FullVigor.com 

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