new video
hot off the press!  
    more about rocket
mass heaters here.
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Logging wisely and sustainably, help me make a total permaculture plan  RSS feed

 
Isaiah Ari Mattathias
Posts: 80
Location: Oregon
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have about 7 or so acres of forest. From the house it slopes pretty steep up 100ft. We've enjoyed no southern wind at all as a result, it's very dense forest that has not been touched in about 20 or so years.
There is no sunlight reaching the forest ground, except in very few areas. It's about 75% conifer. Lots of water comes down from the hill and into zone 1 which is just about flat ground, sometimes causing it to flood in very heavy rains.
We've realized that economically if we want to improve our financial situation, and reinvest back into the land that this is a logical step financially, but the big question is what about the land?
We've been told that clear cutting would bring roughly $60k, however that is not an option because I've seen even what can be considered a "nice" clear cut and am not impressed.
I'd like to list what I perceive as pros, goals, potential cons (each based on very little experience) and general thoughts, and would really love some input. I'm kind of pressed as the soil is firming up and the opportunity is definitely this Summer, so as to not wait another year until next season.

Goal - surplus, sufficiency, sustainability (generating more energy than we consume), permaculture oasis for family and to teach to community (so many people have told me I'm loony and the property is too small to do anything with!). I want a non-profit to teach others, and help local families in need (there are many), a plan generating a return of surplus to land and community, ultimately to reduce time spent at full time job and spend more time on farmstead.

Pros:
Logging 35% and leaving oak trees (per the most reputable logger I can find, and I've certainly done a lot of asking around) would secure the home, perimeter fencing, above ground electric and children's play area from falling trees. It would bring in around $20k, giving the ability to pay off $10k in car loans, freeing up $400/mo which would be used to gradually reinvest back into diversely reseeding, replanting fruit/nut trees and even some earth surgery with a pond or two, dams and swales over time (have to think this out and get more experience after completing my PDC first).
Further, paying off other debts ($3k) would free up another $100/mo. Immediately begin working on paddock shift system for rotating pigs, goats, chickens and perhaps even a dairy cow throughout the forest once the quality forage comes in. Buy bulk feed for pigs and chickens to supplement, and enough hay to get through Winter also as supplement (pigs and goats) and deep bedding (pigs) = about $800 for these two. Another thought is a good sized fodder system to supplement the feed (about $1200). I could also get about $500 of wood chips and compost to expand the garden, and still have some left over as a safety net. Within 2015 if all goes as planned, increase egg, pork and produce production. Really want a dairy cow but I think we're stretched pretty thin. Call that $16k, we have $4k as safety net. Start working on the permaculture app I've been thinking about

This is just one thought. I'm looking for ideas to generate more income in a sustainable, holistic way where I can spend more time on farm with family and give more to them and community.


Cons:
Will logging hurt the land? More wind (could be a good thing for a wind generator)? Increase of flooding in zone 1 due to lack of trees to soak up water?

Concerns:
Besides the above, what are the most important things to do post-logging, that will help the land recover and progress towards a more fertile perennial permaculture oasis?


I welcome any thoughts, constructive or otherwise, on my points above.
 
Adam Klaus
author
gardener
Posts: 946
Location: 6200' westen slope of colorado, zone 6
65
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Ari-
I think the biggest questions would be, what will the soil be like after an area is logged? My guess is that based on the conifer cover, it would be very nutrient poor, plus severe compaction from the logging equipment. I would consider the costs to remineralize and rehabilitate the soil in the logged area. Folks from the PNW with specific experience in this area would be very useful to consult with.

There is no way you could run a dairy cow on logged land anytime this decade. It would take a long time to generate quality pasture from a logged conifer forest. Goats might work, though goats sure arent cows from a productive and pleasant standpoint.

$800 wont buy you much feed at all. I spend about $400 just to raise a single piglet, and they benefit from surplus produce, skim milk, and pasture. The amount of pig food in a logged conifer forest with a cool Mediterranean climate would be a small fraction of what folks in Appalacia and New England are utilizing. You would be basically feeding the pigs purchased feed, with a nice area for them to live in, with their manure slowly enriching the poor soils. Same thing with chickens, or grazers for that matter. Feeding purchased feed, while rotating the animals would definitely help to build fertility, but that would be a decade long project, at least.

Not many of the plants and animals that we are used to utilizing in agriculture are well suited to the fungal dominated, mineral poor soils of the conifer forest. The two things that would be appropriate for this context would be berries (blackberry, strawberry, raspberry, etc), and cultivatible edible mushrooms (oyster primarily). Pasture grasses, vegetables, tree fruits, etc, really arent going to work well without years of shifting the soil ecology quite dramatically.

Those are my thoughts. IMO, a logged conifer forest in the PNW sounds like one of the most challenging sites to develop into a permacultural paradise. Could be that I just dont know the way.

In all things- good luck!

 
S Bengi
Posts: 1359
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Use the money to cover the land in daikon radish, clover, chives(the entire onion family) and things in the mint family.
70lbs per acre reseeded once when you log the forest, then in fall and the next spring also.

Buy alot of rock dust to re-mineralize the soil with rock dust (azomite), and other amendment after doing a soil test.
Paying close attention to the micro-nutrients.

If possible even before you plant the fruit/nut trees you should create some ponds/swales/terrace with heavy machinery.
To help mitigate your flooding.

The next step would be to plant fruit trees at 15ft centers and wait the 3+ years to start harvesting from them.
Ever acre will take about 250+ trees at $25/plant that is over $6,200+shipping.


Total
Plants =$14,600+shipping (you might be able to save some money here)
Earthworks = $4000
Re-mineralization = $1400 (6.4pH + micro-nutrients/etc)
Fencing=$$$$
Irrigation=$$$$
A little help=$$$$

So far 2.3 acres or 1/3 the land you will earn you $20k but you will end up spending just as much.
Most ppl wish that they could do this. I would go for it. Remove all 7 acres and turn it into a self-funded food forest.
But please dont use the money to pay off vehicle or buy a new vehicle or pay off the credit card, use your regular job for that.

If you do this then ppl will come and say wow you got 250 apple trees per acre this looks like a real farm.
However if you spend all the logging money and try to recoupe it say after 10 years.
Planting 25 trees a year, till your kids have left for college and you then have to pay for college.
It will be a real struggle vs now where you could just make it happen.

While the fruit/nut trees grow. you can also grow veggies. Maybe lettuce, swiss chard, cabbage, etc.
Then after 3 years you can harvest fruits/nuts. If it is too much you can have the pigs harvest the fallen fruits for you.
But it is going to take about 2+ years before you can graze animals on grass. and even then it will be 1 cow for 6 acres.

With a 1/4 acre pond or bigger on the flat land you could raise some fish (bluegrill family).
For personal or demonstration purposes harvest-able in 2+ year.



 
Walter Jeffries
Posts: 1091
Location: Mountains of Vermont, USDA Zone 3
44
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I wouldn't be worried about the logging equipment compacting the soil - they don't in our extensive experience.
If there is valuable timber then the sale of it could help pay for fencing, seed, livestock, etc.
Timber is a long term crop - 30 to 70 years typically.

I would tend to leave some patches of evergreens in paddocks - young ones of 6' to 20' are great - for shelters.
I would leave all the oak, apple and other forage trees possible.
I would leave most of the immature good wood trees.
I would take out most of the junk wood - save for my own home heating.
I would save lines of trees to create paddock divisions and then double fence them to keep animals off their bases. This is the start of an orchard paddock system.
It can be a selective cutting. It is not an either or thing.

I would leave the stumps in the ground low cut. Half the tree is in the soil. This leaves those nutrients to return to the soil. They're sprout regen in some types of trees which is good animal fodder in many cases.

If you're bringing in loggers for this small a patch then they need to be able to do enough work to justify the moving in and out of their equipment and their time.

However for such a small plot I think I would just do this by hand over a period of years, planting grasses and legumes under trees so that it gradually fills in. We have pastures that are filled with trees but are also filled with lush grass and legumes below. These are wonderful areas. Apple, pear, beechnut, other nuts, (no oak here ), aspen, maple, conifers. If the trees are spaced out then light gets to the ground and life flourishes there. There is little biodiversity in a mature forest because no light gets down to the floor.

Cheers,

-Walter Jeffries
Sugar Mountain Farm
Pastured Pigs, Sheep & Kids
in the mountains of Vermont
http://SugarMtnFarm.com/
 
Isaiah Ari Mattathias
Posts: 80
Location: Oregon
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks for your replies!! I think with careful consideration of all these points, it will take time to rejuvenate but is certainly possible (especially with remineralization, cover crops and clever use of animals). It's like that geoff lawton video where he starts on forest ground with chickens heavily manuring, follows with leguminous seeding and builds slowly from there. Looks like I definitely need to look more into the bulk purchasing of diverse seeding. Adding to the timetable is that I was considering saplings for things like chestnuts and oak but for fruit trees was thinking more bare root, and these will need to be well protected until they're well established. I forgot to mention the logger stated he has low impact equipment, the Cat he uses for example (I don't recall the model #) has one of the lightest footprints, however due to the logistics there will be a need for heavy equipment somewhere. As part of the project he will put in a gravel road on an existing hill that is all rock. This will also help him to load the logs more easily, but would make getting access in the future a lot easier. He will also assist with clearing paths. There are 2 sections of the forest that are pretty much bare land, little soil sitting on top of a flat rock base (which I find just weird as I try to fathom how this happened over time).. In the Summer there is a grass that grows very tall (5-6+ft), I've yet to identify it, but shows potential for pasture (?). Thanks again!
 
R Scott
Posts: 3349
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
32
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Sit down and DO A PLAN!!!

Hard to tell from what you have said of the site and no pictures, but from what I have learned here and from Geoff and Joel Salatin:

I would put in a large pond as high up as you can (like where the logger probably wants the landing pad). This will gravity feed drip irrigation for the tree establishment and waterers for livestock.

I would work with the logger to build a ridgeway road so you have minimal erosion issues (watch the Lawton video on that). That road will become the laneway for paddock rotation and access to the "orchard"

Have the logger clearcut small areas and thin the rest to use as Walter suggests. The small open areas are treated like hunter's "honey hole" food plots--you put a little bit of highly prized grazing material there that needs the extra light. Like a zone 1 but for the livestock.

Put in lots of swales for the orchard trees and erosion/runoff control. Maybe a few more ponds along the way down so you don't need livestock water tanks.

Let some of you native grass go to seed and try to spread it to other areas, or feed it to the animals to do the spreading (although there is usually little feed value to native grass after it has gone to seed, at least they are doing the work).

Once you have livestock, you can use buffet-style free-choice mineral to finish the remineralization. They will come and eat whatever mineral is lacking in the feed, and then go poop it back where it is needed. They will fine tune the soil test much better than you can.

Make sure you have your ducks in a row, as I think Oregon is one of those places that is really a PITA about building ponds. Do what you need to do to keep the department of make you sad away.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
Posts: 2413
46
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Ari, et al,

Well I will start with a little validation, I work with foresters, I am the "Tree Warden," for my town, I am a working Timberwright, and have practice "permaculture" for over 40 years...

Now with that said some points and some questions...

There is no way you could run a dairy cow on logged land anytime this decade.


This simply is not true in all areas (perhaps some Adam.) We routinely take land from pure forest to open working pastor in under two years. The most recent was 10 acres of Pine/Hemlock that had not been logged in 80 to 100 years. This land had been an apple orchard from about 1820 to 1870 with mixed sustainable ag in the orchard, meat cows ran on it from 1870 to about 1890 then mix "free range" dairy till it just go to thick with conifer scrub by about 1920. When we oversaw the logging some of the old apple trees still hung on (big apple trees?) some of the white pine was over 1 meter bhd. This same land yield over 500 bales of fine hay the end of the next year after the clear cut logging was done.

I tell the story above, as it leads me to many questions.

Do you have a healthy forest cover in the general vicinity of your land, and does the local area need more "open space?"

What is the species of trees (Latin names if you could) on the land and to be logged?

What is the diameter of the largest bhd, and what is the average by species?

Do you have a forest management plan or equivalent by a competent forester or facsimile there of?

Do you really need to cut this forest down for the betterment of your future goals?

Do you plan any future buildings of any kind?

Cons:
Will logging hurt the land? More wind (could be a good thing for a wind generator)? Increase of flooding in zone 1 due to lack of trees to soak up water?

Concerns:
Besides the above, what are the most important things to do post-logging, that will help the land recover and progress towards a more fertile perennial permaculture oasis?


Yes logging will hurt the land...as anything we do does when we change it from what it is to what we want...There is no way around that. Yet, perhaps the word should not be "hurt," but simply "change."

I am EXTREMELY CONCERNED for your risk to flooding if you do anything on topography with the slope ratio as steep as you shared it is, and there are many things to consider from the average angle of repose for your soil types, to average flood amounts to, vertebrate species count..etc, etc....

Can't not even begin to consider the "concerns" part without more information, map location (if you are willing to share it) and the questions above answered.

Regards,

j
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9740
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
180
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I agree with the "make a plan" recommendation. Sit down and make a plan. Or several plans. I've found enormous help in studying the plans of others, especially the plan and aerial photos of Geoff Lawton's place.

http://permaculturenews.org/2012/06/01/zaytuna-farm-video-tour-apr-may-2012-ten-years-of-revolutionary-design/

 
Isaiah Ari Mattathias
Posts: 80
Location: Oregon
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Wanted to reply, and will continue to do updates. I will also post pictures of before an afters. Getting close to May but I've learned it's never good to rush into things like this, so we may have to push the date a bit.
You all have given me lots to consider, and between work, family and the PDC I'm trying to put it all together to make sense.

This is one huge project for such a small plot! I've narrowed concerns down to some key points, all of which I will plan for before the project and make sure I'm on the same page with logger.

key points (not in order of priority, but all priorities) and notes taken from responses:

Rob - ponds, gravity fed drip irrigation, swales (hydration and erosion control), spreading native grass that's already thriving,

Walter - fencing, seed, livestock, patches of evergreens 6'-20' for shelter, leave all oak/apple/forage and immature good weed trees, Selective cutting - save junk wook for home heating
Save lines of trees to create paddock divisions and double fence to keep animals off their bases. Research further - orchard paddock system. Leave stumpe low cut in ground. half tree in soil=nutrients returning to soil, regen in some trees good for fodder.

Tyler referenced Zaytuna farm tour- great vid.

Bengi - remineralization and seeding recommendations taken, thank you! The $ is definitely in quality forage. Fish pond is a great idea, I have a space in the pasture for it.

Adam - mushrooms and berries, particularly blueberries, sounds like a great plan as well.

Access - clearing trails, a gravel road, opening up for better navigation with low footprint methods (ATV+cart or small 4wd truck)
Building - Paddocks, electric fencing (high gauge for flexibility going uphill), cover/ strategically placed and low cost shelters for pigs/goats/dairy and possibly chickens
Water - swales, pond(s), runoff, reducing potential flooding, keeping nutrient water from flowing near well which is positioned below forest
Silviculture - Replanting with a dense forage that all the breeds will benefit from, bamboo for building/staking/shoots for people/fodder for cattle/goats
Food forest - Keeping a section for perennial food forest (nitro fixing, mulch producing covers/trees, closest to zone 1/2)
Management - Proper rotation in terms of priority, long term rejuvenation
Long term - replanting grand fir, oak, ash etc, possible bamboo section along perimeter for long term building/wind break/security (also some cows eat bamboo leaves)
Wilderness - an untapped wilderness zone on the outer 3 acres- there is a seasonal creek, this area attracts some deer and turkeys.
DIY - what could I realistically do by myself that would save some money? chainsaw - cut some myself, winch - bring logs to landing- investigate this.

Note on zoning - we are zoned for "Exclusive farm use grazing" with no water rights but we've cleared the pond matter and it's encouraged so long as it's not taking from streams/creeks etc
I hope to really hone in on all of these and have them well thought out before doing any real work.

Answering questions -

Jay - On type of trees etc:
Section 1 (nearest zone 2) - 85% conifer as a whole - cedar, fir, grand fir. More cedar at the top of the hill.
Section 2 (outer area, nearing the creek) - becomes more dense, also 85% conifer, patches of mature Oak.

Do you have a healthy forest cover in the general vicinity of your land, and does the local area need more "open space?" I would describe as healthy cover leading to unhealthy conditions (such as over growth) if that makes any sense. Definitely more open space needed. You will see from pictures that due to sun's orientation post Fall, the home gets very little sun due to trees screening out and the canopy is very dense- great for keeping out heavy rains and winds (we get very little wind), but not so good for growth as Sun never gets in and the zone 1/2 freezes much easier than say zone 3 which gets sun.


What is the species of trees (Latin names if you could) on the land and to be logged?
Grand fir/Abies grandis (these are said to be 50-60 years and are my favorite so the better ones will stay, as well as some very unique trees I can't part with), Douglas fir/Pseudotsuga menziesii, Pine (Pinus or Pinaceae?), Cedar (Cedrus?).

What is the diameter of the largest bhd, and what is the average by species?
Will work on this one, I took notes many months ago but lost these notes.

Do you have a forest management plan or equivalent by a competent forester or facsimile there of?
I do not. One reason I have not done this is I am looking to convert to orchard/silviculture with only the perimeter being maintained long term as forest, or sort of a mix of them all throughout. Would a forest management plan help with this? If so, I will definitely seek one out, if anything to use even some of the points provided within this plan.

Do you really need to cut this forest down for the betterment of your future goals? This is somewhat long winded because it encompasses so much- my age, my wife/kids, desires, needs etc. We need relief from some monthly expenses, need to pay off some debts, need to help some family and invest into getting this place more productive. I don't have the luxury of time or a full time job that pays enough to accomplish all of this within another year (or even 4) of waiting/saving. I'm 32 and need make plans now towards getting out of the office job and into something more healthy for me. I have a desire on top of all this to contribute more to my wife/kids, community, and have a family run business- preferably on the land growing food. My ideal retirement is a simple life. Paying off my debts will certainly free up resources to remain debt free (minus the mortgage, argh!), generate income (the chicken, produce and pork is already sold at price points we like, the {albeit small} CSA is just waiting on us to produce it and we had no issue our first run selling piglets) and spending more quality time with family.

Do you plan any future buildings of any kind?
We've talked about a yurt or cob to replace the double wide manufactured home. It was built in 2006, but I want to live healthier. Obviously this is down the road. We're comfortable in it but don't expect it to last decades. We like where we live and want to stay here forever. We want to be able to accommodate family, volunteers or what have you outside of the actual house. We hope to extend or revamp a portion of the barn in time, to better accommodate milking a dairy cow or two, dairy goats etc.

Topo map/photos - working on these. Would anyone watch an 8 minute video, or would pictures be best? Lots of land to cover on foot but I can walk fast and make some pointers, and edit it to correspond with the map.
 
Michael Cox
Posts: 1659
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
54
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi,

Sounds like are really interesting plot of land - so many possibilities for you. First up 7 acres sounds like an area that you could manage by hand, without necessarily resorting to heavy machinery. If you have the time and invest in some equipment you could get a LOT more value from your timber by doing some milling for yourself on site. When working by hand there is no need to clearcut, so you can be very selective about which trees you want to take down.

Goal - surplus, sufficiency, sustainability (generating more energy than we consume), permaculture oasis for family and to teach to community (so many people have told me I'm loony and the property is too small to do anything with!). I want a non-profit to teach others, and help local families in need (there are many), a plan generating a return of surplus to land and community, ultimately to reduce time spent at full time job and spend more time on farmstead.


Your goal sounds great, and very broad - there are lots of ways that it could be met with your land, and as people have raised concerns about converting to pasture how about considering applying permaculture principals to the forest itself? Not every small plot of land needs to be food self-sufficient and a food forest or pasture system is not the only way to generate surplus from the land you have. Also remember that you are going to have on going needs for fuel wood - you have a great reserve in the woods that are standing, but to be sustainable in the long term you need to be growing as much as your use each year.

  • Consider selectively thinning the woodland - remove a proportion of the conifer and let some natural regeneration of hardwoods take place.
  • Consider opening a proportion of the forest canopy to let light down to the floor in places. These can become glades for growing a variety of species for other needs.
  • Selectively harvest a few of the top quality timber trees to extract and winch to the road side. You can get a reasonable cash price for these without the heavy machinery on your land.
  • Look at other revenue sources from the forest - mushroom cultivation can be an excellent one.


  • Hmmm.. I've got more ideas, but I'm being sent to bed! I'll come back again in the morning.

    Mike
     
    John Polk
    steward
    Posts: 8019
    Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
    289
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    One point to consider: Clear cutting. We all understand how devastating that can be to both the land (and wildlife).
    Another option is "selective cutting", but that too has its down side.

    If you do the selecting, no logger will be interested - he only wants the prime trees, not the trash.
    If he does the selecting, he will take all of the good trees, leaving you with the trash.

    As the forest begins to regrow, the gene pool that it will be using will be only the inferior trees. All of the good gene pool will be gone. Your regrowth will be dominated by poor parent stock, so your 'new forest' will be populated with poor quality trees. It is an ugly truth if we allow somebody else to make the selection. He is looking for maximum profits for himself. He is not interested in what you are left with.

    If you just do selective harvesting, to 'clean up' the forest, you will improve the forest, but don't expect much return, other than some firewood out of the project. There is a fine line between "fix it" and "rape it".

     
    allen lumley
    pollinator
    Posts: 4154
    Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
    58
    books fungi hugelkultur solar wofati woodworking
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Isaiah Ari Mattathias : This suggestion will get you really deep into the'Good old Boy' Culture, but is worth a shot.

    You need to start off looking for "Tractor Pulls' thats where highly modified farmers tractors set out to see how much
    and how far their tractor can drag a given 'Dead Weight "

    This is where you will find old fashioned teams of horses ( and some donkeys and Oxen ) Doing the same thing.
    This is where you will find a Logger who still uses Teams of Horses to 'skid Logs' out of the woods !

    To a Logger that uses horses to skid, your plot is not small, it is his bread and butter not should you get a better deal,
    his team of horses will not tear up your property, This kind of logger lives by word of Mouth, and a firm handshake !

    I have known several, and yes they all had different skill levels, but averaged much higher than the everyday Clear Cut
    Logger ! Give It a Shot ! Perhaps Jay Will have a comment !
    For the Good of the Crafts, Think like Fire, Flow like A Gas, Don't be the Marshmallow, as always, your comments, and
    questions are solicited and welcome. Big AL !
     
    Isaiah Ari Mattathias
    Posts: 80
    Location: Oregon
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Michael,

    It's amazing that I feel so "on the same page" with all of these replies. I think the Permaculture ethics are totally in play here. Collecting all of this info into a well crafted plan is an effort though.

    Sounds like are really interesting plot of land - so many possibilities for you. First up 7 acres sounds like an area that you could manage by hand, without necessarily resorting to heavy machinery. If you have the time and invest in some equipment you could get a LOT more value from your timber by doing some milling for yourself on site. When working by hand there is no need to clearcut, so you can be very selective about which trees you want to take down.
    Very interesting land. There's lots of water flowing through in the season, and I haven't even really touched on how to harvest that yet as it's low in the property vs being on the highest points. If I could even do a portion on my own or with hired help and low/no heavy machinery that would be preferred, especially long term. Would a chainsaw and winch do the job? I'd probably need to hire someone to then transport the logs, and somehow get to onto the truck however. Could you expand on DIY logging? I'll be checking out some videos on this as well. I've been told it's very dangerous, and I agree, but done carefully and well planned with safety equipment I'm sure these risks could be scaled down (not ruled out though)


    Your goal sounds great, and very broad - there are lots of ways that it could be met with your land, and as people have raised concerns about converting to pasture how about considering applying permaculture principals to the forest itself? Not every small plot of land needs to be food self-sufficient and a food forest or pasture system is not the only way to generate surplus from the land you have. Also remember that you are going to have on going needs for fuel wood - you have a great reserve in the woods that are standing, but to be sustainable in the long term you need to be growing as much as your use each year.


    Yes I'm aiming more for organized chaos, hah. Seriously Geoff Lawton said in the PDC when talking about chaos theory in design "...just before chaos is the ultimate opportunity for creative form". Also diversity is key, as well as the elements of sustainability and sanctuary. An abundance or even over abundance is potential for community, sharing, storing etc. The wood/fuel consideration is another big factor, and we hope to convert the wood stove to a rocket mass stove one day if I find someone capable as I'm not that confident yet in the technology/build phase to take the risk. This alone, heating with sticks, would save so much in the long term! One additional thought is leaving the outskirts of wilderness alone. It is a small, very narrow property as you'll see if you follow when I get these pictures stitched together with notes etc, but for being so small there are many challenging features which is why beyond zones 1-2, went unchecked for so long and brought the value down. Not knowing much about permaculture, I saw value in the unique challenge because there are obviously elements that can be worked with (timber, pasture, water features and so on), but trying to find a way to work with them in a cost effective/budget "shovel in hand" kind of way bring some limitation, hah.


  • Consider selectively thinning the woodland - remove a proportion of the conifer and let some natural regeneration of hardwoods take place.
  • Consider opening a proportion of the forest canopy to let light down to the floor in places. These can become glades for growing a variety of species for other needs.
  • Selectively harvest a few of the top quality timber trees to extract and winch to the road side. You can get a reasonable cash price for these without the heavy machinery on your land.
  • Look at other revenue sources from the forest - mushroom cultivation can be an excellent one.


  • Hmmm.. I've got more ideas, but I'm being sent to bed! I'll come back again in the morning.


    Points taken, looking forward to more, thanks a lot for stopping by and good evening!

     
    Isaiah Ari Mattathias
    Posts: 80
    Location: Oregon
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    John Polk wrote:One point to consider: Clear cutting. We all understand how devastating that can be to both the land (and wildlife).
    Another option is "selective cutting", but that too has its down side.

    If you do the selecting, no logger will be interested - he only wants the prime trees, not the trash.
    If he does the selecting, he will take all of the good trees, leaving you with the trash.

    As the forest begins to regrow, the gene pool that it will be using will be only the inferior trees. All of the good gene pool will be gone. Your regrowth will be dominated by poor parent stock, so your 'new forest' will be populated with poor quality trees. It is an ugly truth if we allow somebody else to make the selection. He is looking for maximum profits for himself. He is not interested in what you are left with.

    If you just do selective harvesting, to 'clean up' the forest, you will improve the forest, but don't expect much return, other than some firewood out of the project. There is a fine line between "fix it" and "rape it".



    John,

    I see where you're going here and in looking for a logger for some time I encountered this exact scenario A LOT. Everyone knows someone who logs here and everyone has an opinion- typically it's clear cut it all, cash out, and harvest again in 30 years. I've asked around.. a lot.. and this is pretty much the consensus (seems there's a market for permaculture loggers because that's what I'm searching for).. Clear cutting with a 30 year return doesn't sound like a plan to me, that feels like I'd be bringing some kind of land curse on myself.

    Then a step above, some more professional loggers said to select cut it, but suggested just as you said- they'd take the best trees as this would be more profit for us both, and I could then replant and re-harvest while having some firewood in meantime. Some just said the land was too small and not worth it. All in all, this was about 8 people/different companies.

    I caught a break when I started hearing about a guy and his family who've been logging these parts for 3 generations. Consistently, within 1 month I think I heard his name about 5 times from different people. This was great as I wasn't going to do anything without a plan. Finally someone had a number, and he came by. Very professional, and I got the intuition of very honest (fairly good at judging character). I got a tour of some of the 100s of acres they own that was logged 8 years ago, some logged just a few years ago, and a clear cut they recently did for someone else, all within 10 miles of me. The plan is basically to tell him what I need. He even said the very term you used - good genetics, and recommended leaving some for long term. Without saying it, I could tell he knows some aspects of sustainable logging. It shows in the plots he manages, passed to him from great-grandparents. The things is, the ball is in my court because he is not familiar with permaculture (and hardly am I), so basically said to get ribbons and select with trees I want to log and/or which I wanted to keep and they'd do the rest. When I spoke of making parts of it an orchard, I was told it may not work and that forest land should be replanted with forest trees lol. I got the sense that he really does not need my project, but would do it and was very interested in helping. I trust my intuition and the logger's solid reputation, so I guess what I'm trying to say is I got lucky (so far). Time will tell what will happen going forward, hopefully I'm not so selective that it's not worth his time, but if that's the case I'll have to become a weekend logger (which I'm not sure I can even do at this point).
     
    Isaiah Ari Mattathias
    Posts: 80
    Location: Oregon
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    This is where you will find old fashioned teams of horses ( and some donkeys and Oxen ) Doing the same thing.
    This is where you will find a Logger who still uses Teams of Horses to 'skid Logs' out of the woods !


    Hey Big Al! I've looked into this as well. I've found one locally, but he's a teacher now and quite busy. I've found another, but he's far out (and looks to be always busy). I'd be happy to speak with someone about it, if I could find someone local and working this Summer. The southern most part of the forest where the trees would be skidded turns mostly into rock, even there is pasture on top of a rock base which I find strange, so the footprint with dragging logs etc might not be too bad. However in the northern area, it's quite soft and more delicate of soil, and this stands to take more impact from machinery/dragging trees etc, and using horses on this end would be great!
     
    Isaiah Ari Mattathias
    Posts: 80
    Location: Oregon
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    I was looking at some topo maps and found this contour line.. are contour lines exact (can I go every 20 feet from this guide), or according to this guide there are only two in this forest? I'm thinking it would be a good idea to log on contour for swales in the future, especially since part of the plan towards the front (North side nearest home) is to push the tree line back (away from fencing/structures/backyard) and establish a food forest there. Any thoughts re logging on contour? How can I articulate to the logger (who is not familiar with contour) to be as accurately as possible? I've tried with the A frame, but with trees presently in place it's hard to get a level of any sort.
    forest-graph-contour.jpg
    [Thumbnail for forest-graph-contour.jpg]
     
    wayne fajkus
    Posts: 722
    11
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    I watched a TV show where the rancher combined timber with cows. The cows produced income till the trees could be harvested. He planted so that the ground still received 50 % sun so grass would grow. The timber company liked it cause the trees were spaced far apart. Easy to get in and out.

    That may be a viable option. Thin it to allow grass. then cows, sheep, or whatever start looking realistic.
     
    Isaiah Ari Mattathias
    Posts: 80
    Location: Oregon
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Wayne,
    Definitely into regenerating/remineralizing holistically. As someone noted above, also Azomite and getting the pH on track gradually. .
     
    Peter Ellis
    Posts: 1432
    Location: Central New Jersey
    40
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Isaiah Ari Mattathias wrote:I was looking at some topo maps and found this contour line.. are contour lines exact (can I go every 20 feet from this guide), or according to this guide there are only two in this forest? I'm thinking it would be a good idea to log on contour for swales in the future, especially since part of the plan towards the front (North side nearest home) is to push the tree line back (away from fencing/structures/backyard) and establish a food forest there. Any thoughts re logging on contour? How can I articulate to the logger (who is not familiar with contour) to be as accurately as possible? I've tried with the A frame, but with trees presently in place it's hard to get a level of any sort.


    I don't see any indication that you got an answer to these questions. Accuracy of contour lines depends on the source of the data - some maps are better than others.

    Contour lines represent points that are at the same elevation. Maps will indicate what spacing they are using with their contour lines, with ranges from a line at every 20 foot elevation change (so between sea level and 100 feet you would have lines at 0, 20, 40, 60, 80, 100) to a line every two feet. So, no, there are not only two contour lines on your property, but if the topographical map you are looking at has lines every fifty feet, then your 100 foot elevation change might only show two lines on that map.

    In your list of things you're wanting to do, I saw you had a budget item for buying wood chips - but here you are talking about having trees cut down. Rather than buying wood chips, would it not make sense to either have the logger chip a bunch of the debris he will be leaving behind in any case (material you're going to be required to dispose of), or to rent a chipper for a weekend and do it yourself? I would think you could get more wood chips than you could buy for $500 at less cost, with the benefit of getting a bunch of the slash dealt with without having to burn it.

    You also mentioned having plans for building, but you don't seem to have considered any of this timber as part of your building planning. That timber is a terrific resource and you want to consider all of the aspects before you make your move.
     
    Cj Sloane
    pollinator
    Posts: 3729
    Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
    86
    bee books chicken dog duck fungi solar trees
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Isaiah Ari Mattathias wrote:I was looking at some topo maps and found this contour line.. are contour lines exact (can I go every 20 feet from this guide), or according to this guide there are only two in this forest?


    Like Peter said, contour lines are just lines of elevation. Pick any spot you want and then find your contour line off that point.

    I also agree with chipping the slash from the logger.

    Just wondering, what kinds of wildlife are in the woods now? Pigs really enjoy chewing on conifers - that's why they live in the Hardwood forests of Europe - they ate the softwoods!
     
    Will Meginley
    Posts: 115
    Location: Concord, New Hampshire
    6
    food preservation forest garden hunting tiny house trees woodworking
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Isaiah Ari Mattathias wrote:
    Jay - On type of trees etc:
    Section 1 (nearest zone 2) - 85% conifer as a whole - cedar, fir, grand fir. More cedar at the top of the hill.
    Section 2 (outer area, nearing the creek) - becomes more dense, also 85% conifer, patches of mature Oak.

    ...


    What is the species of trees (Latin names if you could) on the land and to be logged?
    Grand fir/Abies grandis (these are said to be 50-60 years and are my favorite so the better ones will stay, as well as some very unique trees I can't part with), Douglas fir/Pseudotsuga menziesii, Pine (Pinus or Pinaceae?), Cedar (Cedrus?).


    Most likely Thuja plicata (western redcedar) a highly valuable species, which would explain how you got loggers with mechanized equipment to even bother considering a sale as small as seven acres. (Usually, 100 acres or so is closer to the low end of what they will even look at.)

    Also, nobody likes looking at clearcuts, BUT something to bear in mind if you decide to go the selective cut route:

    As several people here have already stressed, you NEED a plan. You can't always just cut down a tree and expect another tree of the same species to grow back in its place. Like garden plants, forest tree species have different light requirements for germination and growth. It has mostly to do with the photosynthetic efficiency of their leaves. Some species require more sunlight than others to produce a surplus of sugars in the leaves (and any leaf that doesn't at least produce enough food to maintain itself gets self-pruned). As a general rule, pines and most hardwoods require lots of direct sunlight to germinate and survive to maturity. Reproductive success is poor in the shade of other trees. Most firs, spruces, Douglas-fir, and cedar can grow up in the shade of other trees - Doug-fir requiring more light than the others.

    Fortunately for you, the species you seem to want the most are shade-tolerant. But if you desire pines in your future forest or expect to grow any hardwoods in it then you'll need to open up the canopy accordingly. Depending on the desired species the amount of thinning necessary to produce the required light conditions starts to look like some people's definition of a "clearcut." (Not surprisingly, in nature these are usually pioneer species.)

    Something you might want to look into whether you do DIY selective cutting or give your logger the job is known in forestry as "uneven-aged management." Basically you do an inventory of your land, dividing the trees into several size classes based on DBH. At least four works best. Five or six is more common. You then determine the basal area for each size class. (Basically, the square footage per acre of the stumps if you were to clearcut everything.) You then determine a desired future total basal area that will provide enough light to allow all of your desired tree species to regenerate or survive planting. You then choose a "Q-factor" which gets plugged into a fairly simple algebra equation that you solve to determine how many trees per acre of each size class to leave. Different Q-factors can be used to weight the distribution toward either leaving a greater proportion of mature trees or a greater proportion of young trees. You then determine the spacing necessary to get the desired trees per acre and go mark the sale accordingly, choosing only your best healthy trees to leave and being sure to maintain species diversity. This leaves you with a forest post-harvest that contains a whole range of tree sizes and ages ranging from tiny seedlings all the way up to massive overstory trees.

    If this sounds incredibly complicated it kinda is. I would seriously consider hiring a professional consulting forester to help you make the plan and mark the sale. Improper forest management can really limit your future options, and potentially do harm to the land. If possible, find one that charges a flat fee rather than a percentage of the sale proceeds. They're much more willing to humor your "crazy ideas" when they're being paid the same regardless. Another benefit of uneven-aged management is that instead of getting one big pulse of money now and then probably nothing for the rest of your lifetime you could get a smaller payment now but be able to go back in every few years and get another decent harvest. From what I saw in Montana you could fit three intervals of selective harvesting into one return interval of clearcutting.

    And finally, if he's using mechanized equipment he's not going to be able to harvest in linear rows across the contour for you if that slope is as steep as you say it is. Those machines are extremely top-heavy so trying to drive sidehill on a steep slope would cause the machine to tip over and roll downhill. My two cents: do your logging however you have to to work within the constraints made by the equipment used. Then before you start digging take some little wire flags and an A-frame level and mark out the proposed swales. If you happen to come across a spot where there'd be a tree in the swale just move the whole flag line up/down the hill a few feet to avoid it. THEN dig.
     
    Niko Economides
    Posts: 26
    Location: Marquette county Michigan's upper peninsula
    4
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    There is lots of good advice here and maybe I missed it mentioned in another post but make sure you can trust you're logger. I've worked with loggers and I've been a logger and I can tell you they are just like all segments of society some have lots of integrity and some don't. I only question the integrity of your logger because of the quote of 60k on 7 acres. Must be some very high quality wood. How much do you get? If you don't have much experience in this a professional forester can be a big help! You may find one with permi principles but even if not they can help with contracts. A contract is recommended unless you really trust the logger and their ability to accurately value the timber. I would recommend considering learning the trade, tooling up and doing the job yourself. On steep sites skylines are effective coupled with a small tractor or a team, this job could be a profitable work of art.
     
    Will Meginley
    Posts: 115
    Location: Concord, New Hampshire
    6
    food preservation forest garden hunting tiny house trees woodworking
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Niko Economides wrote:There is lots of good advice here and maybe I missed it but make sure you can trust you're logger. I've worked with loggers and I've been a logger and I can tell you they are just lie all segments of society. I only question the integrity of your logger because of the quote of 60k on 7 acres. Must be some very high quality wood. How much do you get? If you don't have much experience in this a professional forester can be a big help! You may find one with permi principles but even if not they can help with contracts. I would recommend considering learning the trade, tooling up and doing the job yourself.


    Agreed. You must have some REALLY nice cedar. By comparison, when I was going to school in Montana a few years ago the local mills were paying $250 per 1000 board feet (MBF, a unit of log volume roughly equivalent to 83 cubic feet) for Doug-fir and $150/MBF for ponderosa pine. And that's what the MILL is paying the LOGGER. From that he has to subtract all of his expenses AND pay YOU for the timber. I think your current logger's estimate of $20k for you is probably more accurate unless you're willing to switch into rape and pillage mode.

    I may be biased because I have a forestry degree (though am not a practicing forester at the moment), but a good consulting forester will bring in more than enough extra revenue and/or save you enough money to justify his fees. The forester's job is to accomplish his employer's goals. If he works for a timber company, that goal is usually to produce money. If he works for you that goal is whatever you tell him it is. If you tell him you want to manage your land for purple-spotted unicorn habitat he'll ask you a few questions to determine what kind of habitat a purple-spotted unicorn needs and then write you up a plan to create it on your land. Joking aside, a good forester will feel duty bound to tell you if you want something unfeasible or unsustainable but will otherwise do his best to help you accomplish what YOU want. By contrast, loggers have very thin profit margins and even the good ones have a vested interest in convincing you to part with the highest value of wood that they can. It's better to present them with sale terms that they can choose to take or leave, not let them design the sale for you.

    And I would agree with the other suggestions to keep the stuff for your own use rather than selling it only to turn around and buy it right back again. Look for portable sawmills in your area. They'll mill the exact lumber you want right there on sight for you. Usually you can either pay a certain amount of money per MBF milled or the miller will keep a percentage of the lumber. Renting a chipper can produce mulch far more cheaply than buying the same amount in bags from the store.
     
    when your children are suffering from your punishment, tell your them it will help them write good poetry when they are older. Like this tiny ad:
    Systems of Beekeeping Course - Winterization Now Available
    https://permies.com/t/69572/Systems-Beekeeping-Winterization
    • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
    • New Topic
    Boost this thread!