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what would create the most amount of jobs in the forest industry?

 
Wesley johnsen
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what would create the most amount of jobs in the forest industry? such as every forester owning 500 acres or foresters employed by the government? i think its only fair for people to own the tree farms just like farmers get to own their own crop and sell it as long as it is sustainable and their not hogging land. would there be more forestry jobs and forest related jobs if every forester owned their own 500 acre tree farm? they can share some of the property with the public to like say a hiking trail runs through the property like a trail easement. there could be special firewood and timber cooperatives to to get the wood products out to the market.
 
Tyler Ludens
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I think there is almost no limit to the number of jobs which could be created in a permaculture forest. Timber, food, craft materials, hiking, camping, etc etc. Literally almost no limit, in my opinion.

 
Wesley johnsen
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how would the jobs and land distribution be structured?
 
Tyler Ludens
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Are you asking an academic/hypothetical question, or are you asking how a landowner can structure use of their land?

 
Dale Hodgins
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In British Columbia, it is common for new purchasers of land, to immediately log it. Often, the plan is to pay off purchase debt. This sometimes leads to trees being harvested decades before they have reached suitable size to be good saw logs. I've seen top quality Douglas fir cut when only a foot in diameter. A large portion goes as pulp.

Although there are many improvements that could be made to government managed lands, extremely short sighted decisions are rampant on private land. Often, those decisions are made by people who are new to land development and logging.

Most of our forest is publicly owned. I want it to stay that way. Government land that is logged, is almost always returned to forest. Private land that is cleared, is often put to other uses.
 
Will Meginley
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Dale Hodgins wrote:In British Columbia, it is common for new purchasers of land, to immediately log it. Often, the plan is to pay off purchase debt. This sometimes leads to trees being harvested decades before they have reached suitable size to be good saw logs. I've seen top quality Douglas fir cut when only a foot in diameter. A large portion goes as pulp.

Although there are many improvements that could be made to government managed lands, extremely short sighted decisions are rampant on private land. Often, those decisions are made by people who are new to land development and logging.

Most of our forest is publicly owned. I want it to stay that way. Government land that is logged, is almost always returned to forest. Private land that is cleared, is often put to other uses.


I think he's talking about an ideal world where knowledgeable foresters buy land with the intent to make money off of it. And as with most questions around here the answer is "it depends" based on parameters he hasn't specified.

What are the foresters going to do with this wood? Sell whole logs or make value-added products? (Furniture, timber frames, wood shingles, lumber, firewood, maple syrup, etc.) If they're just selling whole logs, 500 acres won't even produce one full time job, though it could produce as many as 10-15 short-term jobs intermittently. If the forester spent say 5% of his time doing the forestry work on his land and the other 95% making value added products it would probably make at least one full time job, and possibly as many as 5 or 6 if you were doing something like making hand-made furniture without power tools.

The actual process of growing trees is not very labor intensive. For a given stand of, say, 150 acres you may spend a week planting it with a crew of ten people, come back in 15 years and spend a week thinning it, then come back for a week in another 15 years to do another thinning, etc. until the stand is ready for final harvest at about year 75 or so. Governments and timber companies managing hundreds of thousands of acres typically only employ tens of people full time - because that's all they need to employ. Other than walking around looking for insect or disease problems there really isn't a whole lot to do in the mean time. They may employ hundreds on a seasonal basis but they can afford to do so because they have enough acres to keep the seasonal workforce busy.
 
Peter Ellis
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Tyler Ludens wrote:I think there is almost no limit to the number of jobs which could be created in a permaculture forest. Timber, food, craft materials, hiking, camping, etc etc. Literally almost no limit, in my opinion.



This is one of the critical ways in which permaculture approaches differ from conventional approaches. Conventional approaches look at something called a "forest industry" and ask how many jobs are there in the industry.

Permaculture approaches look at an area of forest and ponder how many different yields can be had from this system, while maintaining the health and continuing productivity of the system.

These are radically different perspectives and produce radically different results.

Joel Salatin's "enterprise" approach can help one see the potential in the permaculture view here. Joel thinks less in terms of jobs, than in terms of enterprises that people can run concurrent with his operations. Instead of hiring someone to do a job, like maintain the heavy equipment and vehicles, he provides someone the opportunity to run their own business, repairing equipment and vehicles, operating on Joel's farm. That person does all the maintenance work on Salatin's equipment and invoices Polyface Farms for the work, but also has the option of taking on work for other people. I don't think Joel has a current mushroom operation on his property, but he could, and someone willing to make that go could have their mushroom enterprise running concurrently with all the other elements of Polyface Farms.

So, "forest industry" jobs? No idea. Jobs based on forest ecosystems? Lots and lots of potential, but the hard part in developing that potential is that it takes time and involves risk, as compared to harvesting many acres of trees and cashing in today. That quick payday is taken, but the very long process of getting the land back to where there can be another payday is ignored, frequently.

It is not so much that the permaculture approach is hard to do, as that the conventional approach is familiar and, in short term perspectives, quick and easy.
 
Tyler Ludens
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It seems to me one could manage a portion of the forest for the quick and easy timber sale, given enough land, and on another portion engage in multiple enterprises. So, to me, one does not have to choose one or the other. The newly- harvested portions could either be replanted with timber, or perhaps better, replanted with species for a permaculture yield (which could include some timber). This way, at least for an initial period of years, timber sales could finance the start-up of permaculture enterprises.
 
Linad Bero
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Tyler Ludens wrote:It seems to me one could manage a portion of the forest for the quick and easy timber sale, given enough land, and on another portion engage in multiple enterprises. So, to me, one does not have to choose one or the other. The newly- harvested portions could either be replanted with timber, or perhaps better, replanted with species for a permaculture yield (which could include some timber). This way, at least for an initial period of years, timber sales could finance the start-up of permaculture enterprises.


sounds good
 
Jeff Hodgins
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I currently have a mostly untreed farm, if I plant trees and cut them I can be charged fines for each tree. The fines are huge, I heard of one guy getting charged $4000 for one tree.
Backward thinking government #%&@ heads who don't know shit about farming or the environment are in charge of implementing and enforcing these rules.

I'm just going to do it anyway, but really you should not plant trees because you put your family at risk of having there land deemed "national forest"

I think the best way to deal with this kind of Mexican govn't bs is raising awareness that the laws make it unwise to plant trees on your land while tilling trees under with a tractor goes unpunished nation wide. Dam you for letting that tree grow to maturity says the govn't agent.

Oh and they spend money on planting pine saplings when the trees sprout all over and the tractor just roots em out. I wonder if thous govn't pieces of %#&t even have a clue wtf is going on.

Fines are good tax though who cares if it fs up the economy and the raincycle. People shouldn't be allowed to grow trees they should be forced to slave away at corn and beans until there so poor that they can't afford to wait for a tree to grow. As the Mexican saying goes (pero des de aqui asta que se da) (but from now until it gives fruit). Well if I ever heard an argument for not planting trees that one is the best. Screw tomorrow, today is all that matters, now get back to corn drudgery you dreamer!

Thank you s.a.g.a.R.p.a.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Jeff, can you plant shrubs or bamboo? What I mean is, can you plant productive species which don't look like trees because they don't get as large, but still fulfill many of the functions of trees such as providing woody biomass, holding the soil, providing fodder, fruit, etc? I think it's possible to get around most dopey bureaucratic nonsense by being imaginative and creative.

 
Bryant RedHawk
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Wesley johnsen wrote:what would create the most amount of jobs in the forest industry? such as every forester owning 500 acres or foresters employed by the government? i think its only fair for people to own the tree farms just like farmers get to own their own crop and sell it as long as it is sustainable and their not hogging land. would there be more forestry jobs and forest related jobs if every forester owned their own 500 acre tree farm? they can share some of the property with the public to like say a hiking trail runs through the property like a trail easement. there could be special firewood and timber cooperatives to to get the wood products out to the market.


To me this sounds like a government conundrum. Currently the forestry industry is in the practice of clear cutting and when a contract is implemented by the US forestry service it is to cut public lands and one contract can be for up to 2500 acres with a specified time line for the trees to be cut.
This is a real issue with groups like the sierra club. Clear cutting isn't a very good idea, ever. It takes all the trees, it leaves the land bare and so prone to erosion, if it is replanted it will be with fast growing conifer species to be harvested with in the next twenty or thirty years.
I worked in this industry for one summer and I was astounded at the way the land looked after the sawyers and then the removal crews came through. The company I worked for as a sawyer didn't do clear cutting but instead only took fully mature pines. Even then we left large swaths of stumps and huge limb piles. When it rained the soil ran down the mountains like rivers of mud leaving gullies you could get lost in if you were at the bottom. It was actually worse than the destruction I saw in Vietnam, at least there, there was a purpose other than satisfying greed.

A 500 acre plot of forest really isn't much when you are talking of harvesting logs. An acre is not huge it's only 208 x208 feet, usually you don't get more than one truck load of wood from that size space, two if you are taking out smaller diameter trees, that could have grown much larger if left alone.
Selective cutting is the best idea, but even with that some of the smaller trees are going to sustain damage or even be knocked down as the selected trees are removed, a skidder is a big piece of machinery, cable lifts are good but they don't leave thee standing trees unscathed either.

Yes people have to work, yes trees need to be harvested, but we have yet to find the best methods for doing this when it comes to the actual health of the left behind trees and the supporting soil. I don't see a way to make forestry the US way fit into a permaculture style unless you use large helicopters to lift each tree as it is being cut. You would also have to be very selective in the diameters you harvested. Old growth forests in the USA are almost a thing of the past, unless you count the giant redwood forest and sequoia forest that are protected by being national treasures, the US government looks at the rest of the woods as money growing on trees.
 
chad Christopher
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Currently. Invasive removal. It's never ending. It leads to further education of a local forest(er) and a niche in the permaculture world. At least in my area, a lot of home owners want their properties cleared and planted.
 
Wesley johnsen
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any other opinions? another idea is to have land owners rent out their land for camping and things. also what are other ways a forest owner can make money? do you think the gov should own all the forests or do you think that all working forests should be owned my family tree farmers and they do other things to to make money from the forest like make wood products and different types of syrup like maple? i like the idea of private owned forest where the land owners share the land with the community and engage them with the land. protected with a conservation easement that prevents the land from being over logged and develped or sold to high a price of course. i would like a blueprint like of a forest industry that creates the most amount of jobs but also allows people to live or vacation in the woods on a low impact level. also how would this system work. if you have an idea let me know. would love to hear!!.
 
Travis Johnson
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I have worked with a variety of Foresters and my opinion of them is very high, and generally I do not like consultants as a whole. Honestly I prefer those that do then those that tell, but in the case of Foresters I generally take their advice. I say generally because just like anything there are good ones and there are bad ones. I have had half a dozen on my woodlot here, and one had to be terminated. My ideas and his did not coincide so the mere thought of allowing foresters to have 500 acres or all the acreage just because they are foresters is a VERY scary proposition indeed. Just as some of the best bridge builders during the 19th century were uneducated, a degree does not ensure a great forest. The one that I terminated had a fascination with "open space" as he called it, which meant he liked to log a lot harder than I preferred. Even other foresters questioned his methods.

I am only 41 years old, but I have already seen massive changes in the forest industry. I say I am a sheep farmer, and I am, but will also say that 3/4 of my land base if forested and most years the vast majority of my farm income comes from Forest products. Because of USDA rules forest products on a farm are still considered an agricultural sale because they know farmers have woodlots and want them to properly maintain them. I started driving bulldozer for my father at age 10 in a limited capacity in the woods, and never have stopped. I say all that just so people know I have a very vested interest in forestry.

Currently in New England we have some serious issues in the industry and I honestly think permicuture could help.

The problem is we are currently shifting over from being heavily dependent upon the paper industry. It is in decline and paper mills are closing at alarming rates. In one week alone last fall we had 3 announce their closings...not just shutting down but being sold to scrap companies. Hundreds of manufacturing jobs, but also trickling down to the logger. This presents a problem, because to truly manage a woodlot you have to get rid of both yucky wood, and really good wood. Quality wood is rather easy to get rid of. Everyone loves big logs, but the cull wood is much harder. let me give you an example. Since the 1900's Fir was preferred to make paper and many mills only took Spruce and Fir, and that was true right up until the 1990's. Today only two mills in the area take spruce and fir and they are VERY fussy on what they take. No rot, cut to exacting length, buying only certain tonnage per year, etc. One such mill has shuttered one of two paper machines and may close the other! The other paper mill has intermittent shut downs. That is a long way of saying, what do us landowners do with fir? About 1 in six trees on my woodlot is fir (due to my soil) and thus I am VERY concerned if I can get rid of it in the future.

Permicuture could help in creating a market for that wood. It grows really fast, prefers a variety of soils and rots really quick. Being soft it could easily be processed into chunks (not chips but chunks) and then distributed to farms where it is laid into hugels. Another market could be in the forming of roads. The wood is resinous and so I am sure it could be processed to form some sort of renewable type adhesive that could bond stuff together...like wood chips or possibly rock. I just think it is absolutely stupid that we pump oil out of the ground half a world away, ship it over here just to stick rocks together so we can drive on it when we have plenty of forests and a paper industry that is going by the wayside. The same goes for wooden bridges...

I do disagree that clear cutting is NEVER warranted. Using terms like NEVER is dangerous especially in some thing as diverse as forestry. As I mentioned I have huge percentages of fir, but also spruce and hemlock. There is such a thing as Spruce Budworm that killed millions of acres of trees in 1900, and also in the 1970's, so while I have never clear cut upon my own woodlot, I will not rule it out. Still I recognize that I am not the typical woodlot owner. This farm has been in the family since 1746 and I have had really good forefathers who took care of the forest. We cut wood, but selectively. As the foresters say I have "yield and variety", there is no mono culture forest here. It is always being harvested, but only at 1% of what grows a year. Since we are the most heavily forested state in the nation at 90% forest and of which 90% is privately owned, it is sad to see what is happening. All around me I see people cut their woodlots off, then 5 years later have it cut again, then 3 years later have everything cut...then it is sold. The first and second cuts are done for the money, the wood looking better on the second cut because all the big trees were cut the first time around! The third cut is done just because they don't want to be saddled with property taxes for years on land they cannot cut wood off. So they sell it.

I do not do that. In fact my Grandfather always told me to "always cut the junk wood that way you always have good wood." My woodlot is my savings account! Now that others have cut their wood, my trees look especially good. But there in lies the problem with forestry. Because it takes so long for a tree to grow, it is not worth a lot per acre per year. Sure I can go out today and clear an acre of land and get a lot of money for it, but that is only because I have been paying property taxes on that acre for years, and my father before that. It is only because they were conservative that the woodlot has value, and so I must be for the generation that succeeds me! This is where it gets sticky though. I can raise 10 sheep per acre here and the profit from them per acre, per year is really high compared to forestry simply because it takes a tree 35 years to grow to marketable size...and pulp size at that. At this young age though, the trees grow really fast, but they are not worth much. Saw logs are worth much more, but their conversion also takes much longer. Its a really hard balancing act to manage.

Ultimately supply and demand will produce the most jobs from forestry. New England saw the switch in the 1900's from the Nations insatiable appetite for sawn lumber to pulpwood to make paper, and now that paper has ended something else must take its place. We have too much wood to go unused so ultimately it will be interesting to see what it is. Permicuture could be it. All indicators show that the world needs to produce more food on a given acre and do so with less resources. Rather than convert natural gas into synthetic fertilizers we could harvest forest products, chunk them and distribute them into hugels mechanically that grow an increasing amount of food for a hungry world, is indeed possible. The technology and sound science is there. As a Christian too I believe in the bible and since it has a good track record in the past, I have no reason to doubt its predictions in the future and it clearly states that "in the end times a days wages will pay for a loaf of bread". It is one of the reasons I am clearing my forests to make room for more tillable land. It is not IF it will happen, but when, still as a 10th generational farmer that does not matter. It is merely my job to do the best I can to position this farm so it is in a good spot for the next person to take over it...whoever it is. I am not going to cut off all my woodlot...that would be foolish, but through Foresters and Agronomist advice, we pick the better acres suited to farming and are moving in that direction. Granted I have only done 20 acres thus far, but that is still 20 additional acres and a lot of food can grow on a given acre.



 
Tyler Miller
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By forest industry jobs I'm going to assume you mean sources of income that come from semi-managed Zone 4 areas, not Zone 1-3 food forests.

Like has been previously said, there are opportunities for a lot of different enterprises on any sizeable property. I think the potential is more limited by our creativity than anything else (other than possibly regulations, depending on where you live).

Are you mainly looking for a big list of forest-related jobs? The Woodland Way by Ben Law is a really good book on living as a forester and includes many ideas on sources of income. It's actually my second favorite permaculture book, after gaia's garden.

Here's some possible income sources off the top of my head. There are a lot more out there, this is just what I can come up with during my lunch break.
Timber harvesting (obviously)
Milled lumber
Charcoal
Specialty pieces for wood carvers
Woodcarvings
Wreaths
Pine cones
Wildcrafted/pseudowildcrafted food and medicinals (wildberry jellies seem to be popular)
Potpourri mixes
Flowers (cut, dried, etc.)
Syrup/sap
Compost
Wooden furniture, instruments, etc.
Animal pelts
Log cabin kits (or even completed tiny houses)
(Cutting this part short since I'm running out of lunch break.)

My family owns quite a bit of property, including a lot of woodland. I'm going to put in food forests and try to sell things at farmers markets and all the normal stuff, but I don't think that fruit and vegetables will be all that profitable for us. The local population is small and already produces a lot of their own food (which is a good thing, don't get me wrong) and we're a long drive from a big city (another overall good thing, IMO). Hauling stuff into town is expensive and time consuming, and I'm not super interested in selling bulk amounts of timber, potatoes, hay, etc. Meat might be a better option, but I'm not sure yet.

A better way would be to get people to come out and visit our place, but I would have to make it worth their while, and there are a lot of small farms between me and them. Why would someone drive two hours to come to my U-Pick when there's a dozen that only take half an hour to get to? I think the answer is going to be creating an awesome place that people want to come visit, and a lot of that can be done in Zones 3 and 4. Smaller farms closer to the city can do a lot with cool buildings, beautiful gardens, etc. but they probably won't have the room for bigger scale or more wilderness focused attractions.

I like your camping and hiking trails ideas, that fits right into what I'm thinking. Here are some other reasons people might be willing to make the drive out:
Groomed ski trails
Guided walks (mushrooms and other edibles, medicinals, wildflowers, birds)
Frisbee golf course
Some sort of obstacle course/challenge
Sustainable hunting leases (maybe guided hunts)
Stocked pond for fishing
Timber harvesting classes
Cabin building workshops
Birdwatching
(Not all of these would work well in my specific case; Alaska is fortunate enough to have lots of wilderness open to the public.)

A lot of my ideas revolve around creating really cool places where people would want to hang out. Zone 4 could be a good place for a lot of them. Some of them might be completely man made, others could be found naturally and either left as-is or "improved" with things like a bench kept dry by a small roof, a critter-proof trash can or a small sign giving some pertinent information. I'm talking about pretty ponds, cool rock piles, caves, stumperies and the like. If there were also some good Zone 1-3 operations (U-Pick, restaurant, bed & breakfast, etc.) then I think people might want to come out. It might be possible to attract photographers, birthday parties, team-building company retreats, guided meditations, weddings, basically anyone looking to spend a fun afternoon or a few days.

A person might also put a few tiny houses out into what is otherwise Zone 4 and rent them to people looking for a little temporary solitude. If I remember correctly Ben Law mentioned that professional foresters in England would often have small houses located in different places across the woodland, and they would move from place to place to be closest to whatever work they were doing at that time. A person who was interested in living that semi-nomadic kind of lifestyle might rent out the houses he wasn't occupying at the moment to vacationers.

I think my blathering has led me off topic, and I've run out of lunch break. I'll just end with a recommendation to get Ben Law's book if you haven't already.
 
Travis Johnson
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I thought of a few useful items stemming from a woodlot that could bring use/income to a landowner, though the list is not all of them by any means. This is of course in addition to Tyler's...

Naturally occurring ginseng
Birch bark for writing paper
Birch Bark for canoes
Larch roots for wooden sailing ship knees
Hemlock bark for tanning
Black spruce twigs for Spruce Beer
White Spruce Gum
White Fir for clear epoxy (done for world war II optics)
Currants for Currant Juice
Yellow birch for winter green sap/syrup
White birch for sap/syrup
Hemlock bark for red dye
Forked gray/ white. yellow birch sticks for boot jacks
Split brown ash for basket weaving
White ash for snowshoes
Hemlock bark for a shingle substitute
Any hardwood for potash
Any hardwood for coke
Cedar for fence posts
Split cedar for cedar rail fencing
Steamed white ash for sheep crooks
Peat for a bog for home heating fuel
Wild grown mushrooms
Rocks for retaining walls
Rocks split to make flooring (my home has slate taken from my forests)
Apple wood for smoking food
Cedar for cedar plank salmon
White pine for masts and spars
Basswood for carvings
Hemlock for corduroy roads
Oak/larch for wharf pilings
Basswood leaves for toilet paper (they are huge)
Beech leaves for winter toilet paper (they are small, but stay on the tree all winter)
Bored larch makes excellent pipes since they do not rot/check if constantly wet
Christmas trees
Oak for barrels









 
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