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


Paige S. Turner said...

Please elaborate on 'the becauses.'

Organic Logger said...

To be continued.........when time allows, around the reality of actually doing this work....

Organic Logger

Annie said...

Howdedoo. Nice place here. Looking forward to reading some more about the reality of being in the woods with the beasts. Ah...don't you love the smell of chainsaws in the morning?

It's wonderfull to see someone putting their work ethic where their heart is.

fred said...

Kudos for the Roanoke Times piece, which I will blog later today at

And welcome to the small but growing list of FloydCo bloggers!

GreenmanTim said...

Here via Fred's link. You may well have encountered the Forest Guild in your work, but if not I think you may find this national organization of ecologically oriently foresters and allied professionals a good ally and resource. Guild foresters abide by "First Principles" that put the forest first and they are obligated to disassociate from timber operations and cutting plans that are contrary to that mission.

Organic Logger said...

Hello Greenmantim,

I am a charter member of this group, having been at the meeting when we chose the name, changing it from the progressive foresters network. I have let my membership lapse, since it is expensive for someone making a sustainable living from the resources of our community private forest. It is a great group and I hope to renew my membership soon. They have evolved from being the Forest Trust to being the Forest Guild, which is a combination of the Forest Stewards Guild and Forest Trust. I have learned a tremendous amount from the members of this group and contributed our own special addition to the work of good forestry. Thanks for the comment, stay tuned, if the weather stays wet and cold I will probably have more time to post another addition soon.
Warm Salute,
Jason Rutledge, Organic Logger....

susannaheanes said...

also here thanks to fred. as a land-use planner under the current employ of the first tree farm in sc, i am gratified to finally find someone doing it the way it used to be done here. part of the plans here call for reinstating animal logging at least as a historic demonstration experience. i expect we'll be talking alot in the future. glad also to know of the forest guild organization as well.

peace & blessings,

Annie said...

Oh Susanna, sounds like you need some HHFF trained Biological Woodsman down your way, as we all do.
So are you aware of any young men or women who want to take the training?
Got any ideas about funding sources to do that training? It ain't much in the scheme of things. And there is no pork. Just horses, arches and a BW ready to do your tree gardening for you!

Cindy Lee said...

How about some information on the folks that do it for a living. I'm going to be building in Willis next year and need a few trees taken down not to mention I have about an acre of woods that could use thinning. I would love to talk to some of these guys/gals while I’m up there in July.

Organic Logger said...


I know some folks in SC that may be able to help you. Let me know if you want to contact them. My regular email address is:
Thanks for your kind words and interest.

Cindy Lee,

I also work at this for a living, as mentioned in my first blog entry. Let me know when you are in the area and we can talk about your land. I also will connect you with some HHFF trained practitioners that live closer to Willis than I do. My farm is in Copper Hill, in the north end of the county. Thanks for your interest.

Warm Salute,
Jason "Organic Logger" Rutledge

Jimbojim said...

Jason, Just got on the blog. Great stuff keep it going. Sorry I missed you in Vermont but I travel to horse logging jobs away, live in a camper, put the horse near to it and work all week. was just too tired to drive across Maine to meet up with you guys. We do need a place where we can talk about the economic issues. It damn hard to cut wood for a living and much harder to make it with horse unless you have a lot of 1) very good wood and 2) very committed landowners who are looking long into the future. Jim Ostergard....Master Logger....Appleton, Maine

Robert said...


This is great info. I first learned about it in Yes! magazine. I have always loved animals and farms, and have spent some time on them helping out as a kid. Can you tell me more about your forestry apprenticeships (how they work, how long etc.). Or is there another place on the web I can learn about them?



Organic Logger said...


Go to:
and download a copy of the
Biological Woodsmen's Apprenticeship application, fill it out and mail it to us at the address provided. If you wish to consider private instruction email me at:

Thanks for posting...