This proven collaborative and innovative program would train local members of notably disadvantaged forest communities to become “biological woodsmen”, masterfully proficient at directional tree felling, and expertly trained to employ draft horses to enhance forest ecosystem health and resiliency.
Restorative forestry selectively culls weak and dead trees, mimicking nature’s technique of clearing the forest with storms, wind and other natural occurrences. The healthier trees left standing hold not only the greatest revenue potential, but also the most promise for providing a beautiful, thriving habitat for wildlife, recreation and overall environmental health. Draft-Horse Restorative Forestry protects water quality from non-point sources of water pollution resulting from substandard forestry practices, and helps to retain a naturally diverse selection of tree species in the forest inventory. One fundamental aspect of this program is that it allows the rescue of perfectly healthy horses otherwise destined for slaughter. Another important aspect is that it assists rural forest communities to optimize usage of raw forest materials by allowing access to equipment used in the production of popular value-added products; such as increasingly marketable essential oils, botanicals, and phytomedicinals. It also provides for production of mulch and highly absorbent pet bedding. Ultimate viability would be achieved by the establishment of an International Training Facility, as there has already been much interest proffered by countries such as China, New Zealand, Scotland and others.
Wildfire Risk Reduction via Draft-Horse Restorative Forestry
Benefits to the VCNP, surrounding communities & the general public:
• worst-first, single-tree selection culls weak and dead trees, mimicking nature’s technique of clearing the forest with storms, wind, fire, etc.
• forest is allowed to retain a naturally diverse selection of tree species in its inventory; enhanced ecosystem health & resiliency results
• water quality protected from non-point sources of pollution inevitably resulting from conventional forestry
• optimizing raw forest products toward production of highly marketable essential oils, botanicals, & nutraceuticals assists collaborators in establishing sound economic foundation
• would allow for the production of a lucrative line of environmental cleaning products featuring various oils, such as pine
• generates public awareness of community/forest interdependence, promotes mutually beneficial relationships between the two
• general consensus of recent public opinion has reflected willingness to pay to watch woodsmen at work
• ultimate program viability would be achieved by the establishment of an International Training Facility; much interest has been proffered by countries such as China, Russia, New Zealand, Scotland and others
• community members would be expertly trained at directional tree felling, draft horse logging, grading, negotiating, marketing/sales, record keeping
• communities would cultivate sustainable legacies that produce capital by rewarding forest stewardship skills & protection of the environment
• locally grown hay and grain are fuel for this program, low start-up costs enable landowners to participate in "eco-industry" without incurring high debt
• collaboration with a spray nutraceutical company (Vitamist) would result in economic & health benefits
• allows the rescue of perfectly healthy horses otherwise destined for slaughter
• would encourage survival of endangered Suffolk Punch draft breed
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