Tending the Forest with FVF
Walk into the forest. Stop, look around - feel the spirit of the forest. If you don't "feel the spirit of the forest" you need to spend a lot more quiet time in the woods. The forest is a living community - take time to know the essence.
Walk to a nice tree, look it over, hug it, walk around it, talk to it… "How are you doing today, my friend?" What other trees are interacting with this one? How are they doing? Should I do something to improve this little group of trees? Manage one bunch of trees, then move on to another nearby, and then another bunch… soon the whole forest is growing with Full Vigor!
When working with young and/or short trees under a forest canopy, several factors are important to me;
* Am I going to harvest this tree some day? - If not, should I cut it or just leave it?
* Will this tree get into the full sunshine in the next 10 years? Cut it or leave it?
* Will this tree ever get into the full sunshine? Should I cut it or leave it?
Removing suppressed and undesirable trees that aren't significant competitors to crop trees is a matter of personal choice.
Secret to Success - Prune Soon
When you harvest and mill your own logs, pruning becomes a very high priority. When logging, I'm going to have to cut that branch off anyway, so I choose to do it when it is small and I am young. It is a good investment in my future. When sawmilling, I regularly see major defects that would have been avoided if the tree had been pruned. Dead branch stubs are an open pathway to insects and fungus to invade the tree. Loose knots in a board wreak havoc in woodworking machinery and big open holes don't sell very well, even in character flooring!
In a perfect forest where the manager is caught up on all important work, small trees are pruned up regularly as they grow. We shape the tree and encourage it to grow tall and straight. All dead branches are removed promptly. My Rule is… Branches should be pruned off by the time they get the size of your thumb. Work to develop a crown with a width and depth that is one-third the total height of the tree, (one fourth for conifers). Go as high as you can with pole saws, then get a Future Forest Products Ascender for high pruning of your good trees. Millions of people pay for a similar exercise machine that is not nearly as fun or profitable.
Summary - Full Vigor Forestry
For Forestry to be really sustainable, the forest must be respected. The forest owner must be fully informed and involved in managing a profitable business. The logger must be a trained professional, have the best tools, be well paid for excellent work, and involved year after year in the management program. We work to develop a forest canopy that is healthy and fully arrayed - that captures the sun's energy to grow high quality wood products on carefully spaced trees. We keep the canopy intact, removing an average of one large tree per acre each year. Our selection of trees to remove is always taking the trees that have lost their vigor, starting with the worst first. Our annual harvest is just a portion of the natural output of the forest. We encourage natural succession and natural regeneration starts a new crop of trees every year. Watch Nature and cooperate! back