Leaving the Best: Sustainable Forestry
Suffice it to say, Jason is an early ambassador and elder statesman of forestry stewardship. He and his son, Jagger (who you can see in the gallery image cutting up the tulip poplar he just dropped) are engaged in a work of love (the profit is small and hard to come by, especially in a day of declining timber values.) And both are as articulate about their purpose, methods and goals as you’d ever expect to find coming from a suit and tie, much less from the garb of a woodsman in the backwaters of Virginia forests.
What Healing Harvest sees perhaps most clearly is there is more to the forest than the trees. In the end, it is the “environmental services” of the forest–its carbon sequestration, cooling effect, energy conversion and especially water resource impact–that makes our woods so valuable to us. To US, not just the small landowner who thinks in terms of his acres during his day.
But then, Jason can also convince you that it makes sense now and in pennies to consider leaving your woods better and better with each sucessive, selective, low-impact, worst-first cutting.
In this demonstration, Jagger Rutledge used a “Swede cut” to drop a tulip poplar 31″ across at breast height. (The area it grew in is destined to become a pond). He estimated the tree was about 80 years old. The 8-foot section that was cut from the trunk of the tree weighed approximately 2200 pounds. And the Rutledges’ team of Suffolks moved it away as if it were made of balsam wood, leaving no dozed road, no collateral tree damage–just a scuff in the leaf litter in the process.