Thursday, November 22, 2007

Please help support "Carbon Positive" Forestry

Most people wouldn’t know what “green” in a consumer sense really is, even if it kicked them in the butt. I wouldn’t suggest doing that, because consumers are barraged with advertising that confuses everyone. But I would like to use any forum available to educate consumers about making awesome choices to support the environment. This is my life’s work. I will share with the reader, some of the journey to this point in time. I bet you get a kick out of reading about it. Certainly it is something to talk about – those Organic Horse Loggers up in the mountains.

I work with a small “treeroots” organization that promotes “restorative forestry”, Healing Harvest Forest Foundation.

We call it “restorative” because we know the quality of the forest products produced conventionally on a per tree and log basis is declining. So we don’t think we can sustain a decline. We think that in order for any natural resource management or extraction to be sustainable it must be restorative. You may ask: Restorative to what? Restored to a forest that is as similar to a virgin forest of North America as possible. “Restorative Forestry” imitates nature and only takes the worst trees first and allows the best trees to remain to grow as large, old and profitable as possible. This is a long term approach that is gaining acceptance equal to the understanding of it by the public, particularly environmentally aware consumers.

Our approach is one of being “carbon positive” in our actions of addressing human needs for forest products. This means we use a power source that doesn’t burn fossil fuels which contribute to global warming, but instead process, digest and convert captured solar energy in the form of hay and grain into a biological power source of working animals. We log with horses, mules and oxen, animal power. That’s the anthropological culture side which supports the silvicultural approach. Our methods leave the biggest, best and healthy trees in the forest which stores more carbon in their large bodies and yet increases carbon sequestration buy promoting some new growth to replace the lesser and declining trees that are harvested. This method and group are the most “green” producers in the country - maybe the planet.

The most cool thing about it, is that it cost exactly the same as any other log home, no premium extra charge for being “GREEN”!

Now - what you may do to be a part of this is to visit our web site and read more about what we are doing. The gist is to buy a DRAFTWOOD Turman Log Home, made exclusively from our logs, harvested using restorative forestry principles….and we will get a sales commission on the home. This money will be used to start a combination endowment - self insurance fund for the ground level workers. This is what we call “ecological capitalism”, where the people that do the best job taking care of the eco-system, make more money for their work. This could be one of the most revolutionary consumer driven changes in the world. What we want and need from every reader is to spread the word about this project, invite them to contact us about it and help us sell a home made from our logs.

*Our industry has challenged us to back up the notion that people really care about the environment so anyone paying any attention that really cares about the environment may help. Building starts are down, everyone is worried about the future, but someone out there is planning to build that dream vacation log home or any kind of home….we may enhance the dream to actually having the home owner come to the forest and see the logs harvested if they want to.

Go to and tell them you want a DRAFTWOOD Log Home…it is as green as the real world gets…..They can build state of the art, timber frame or log homes, your design or they will design for you.

Thanks for taking the time to read this and spread the word…

Jason Rutledge –

* Industry means the existing manufacturers who have never before considered the sustainable question about their products. Most of their other wood comes from bad practices, like Clear Cutting and High Grading. They don’t think enough people care to matter…let’s prove them wrong and do what is right for the environment. Or maybe the do care and want to do things differently if possible, here is our chance…either way it is a win/win.

Thanks again!

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Why do things the hard way?

Why - the because’s

The most important factor is that this is the right thing to do, any way you want to look at it. And there are a lot of ways to look at anything. Probably one of the most endearing parts of this work is that it continues to create new views and remind one that nobody knows everything. Knowing how little we know, may be the true gift of vision.

Restorative forestry though the humble and harmonizing relationship with animals is the right thing because it shares the wealth of creation more fairly than any other methods. The greatest sharing is the stewardship of leaving the forested conditions improved for increased future value and use by coming generations of our kind. The regard for the other “creatures” (kind) insures the production of values that we can benefit from immediately and increasingly in the future. This is how our organized effort through the foundation is seen to be for the public good, despite not being the most profitable in the first entry or harvest. Therein lays a great challenge. How do you get folks to do the right thing when it doesn’t pay the most from the start? We find the answer may be in the need to quantify the quality of all life. Not to reduce the value to the specific immediate human needs, but to see the value as greatest as a part of the whole. This is a wholeness that we should consider in our every action, including no action. That is when I began to think of the word “wholistic”.

Monday, February 26, 2007

First Post on Restorative Forestry Blog


A Path to Sustainable Community Development

Introduction - What

The biggest piece of our environment in the eastern United States is our forests. So it naturally is the most important part of our surroundings, just by volume or default. Being the dominant environmental condition means it is also appropriately - a hugely complex issue. The gist of this writing is kin to the issue of “Not being able to see the forest for the trees”. This old quote or cliché/phrase is true in today’s world, maybe more than ever. The purpose of this writing is to share the view of the forests held by a “treeroots” movement from Appalachia called the Healing Harvest Forestry Coalition. If you can, just start out this reading by thinking of them as organic loggers/woodsmen that work with an organization they started, that is like the “green cross” for the forest.

Context - theater of operation -Where

This writing is not purposefully intended to be an advertisement or promotion of our organization or my personal forest management business. However to discuss these issues deeply and thoroughly they will inevitably be written about including the context of our 501c3 non-profit organization that exist as a public charity to serve the public good. In order to teach the skills and ethics of this work, (in the field or forest actually) one must be an actual practitioner – in order to facilitate hands-on learning. Our classrooms are the forests of our communities. This is our effort to practice the best forestry we know. Our goal is to share the information based upon our experiential knowledge, academic education and a very personal relationship with the forests and community. A link to the HHFF website is provided to allow the reader to refer to other writings that exist as public information, for the public good. Several other links and references will be made in the course of a hopefully ongoing exchange about restorative and therefore sustainable forestry with the public through any medium possible.

Bottom up change – Who

The practitioners of restorative forestry through modern animal powered logging are attempt at a best effort to produce forest products within the principles of protecting, nurturing and truly being a steward of our land. The naturally humbling and harmonizing presence of a biological power system is admittedly labor intensive but highly efficient in many ways. Working with animals is a good thing. It is most efficient in protecting the resources of our communities. More of the money from extraction of natural resources stays in the community from this method. This writing will be based up thirty years experience working with draft horses on thousands of acres of forests throughout the state of Virginia and elsewhere. We hope to explore all the complex relationships of this work as it plays a role in the forest products industry and the socio-economic reality of the mostly forested rural parts of our world. All the principles are applicable everywhere there are trees and people. This very complex culture is seen and shared from the perspective of the people actually doing the work. The common goal of social stability, environmental stewardship and long term economic prosperity is sought through bottom up change in our world. This is attempted by empowering the ground level workers with the skills to practice restorative forestry and the development of the ethical human dignity behind why to practice restorative forestry. There is no question that this is very hard work. We would hope that some exchange with the public is evoked in sharing this experience. I look forward to responding and hearing anyone’s thoughts and comments.

Why, the motivation, the reasons, the becauses