Horse Logging — a time-tested forest management method.
We’re proud to be part of a small group of loggers bringing renewed relevance to this old tradition that has been used for many centuries and reflects forest owners’ desire to minimize the environmental and aesthetic impacts of conventional, diesel-powered logging.
Although we use modern saws to cut down the wood, the horses’ main role is dragging the felled logs from stump to the truck-loading site — a task our mighty Percherons are well suited for!
Here’s a horse logging project we’ve been working on recently:
Our client, Mrs. Miller, owns a lovely hardwood forest near Port Hope, Ontario. It’s a mature bush with a variety of trees including red oaks, white oaks, maples, and walnut. For a forest to maintain proper ‘health’ and ideal growing conditions for the trees, both young and old, proper forestry management practices are called for. The removal of specified trees helps open up the canopy in order to bring sunlight down the to new growth closer the forest floor.
Mrs. Miller wants to take care of the property for future generations to enjoy. When she called us in, we knew that a full assessment was needed in order to determine exactly which trees needed to be removed. That’s where we rely on the services of Bill Newel, formerly with the Ganaraska Conservation Authority and now available to us as a consultant.
Before any trees were cut, Bill went in and looked at every tree and marked them, making a master list for the next steps. Armed with this knowledge, my son Conor, and assistant Randy, set about cutting the designated trees. The result will be a forest that has room for the existing mature trees to flourish while providing the space for the new growth that will eventually replace them to take hold.
Not only do we cull to maintain a healthy area which is the proper density of various sizes of small medium and large trees, but we are also strong proponents of leaving behind the best, healthiest, large specimen seed trees. Most loggers crave the most beautiful trees in the bush lot and don’t care much about the future. When we came to understand that trees, like humanity, have a genetic structure, it changed the way in which we approach our efforts. In other words, if only crooked trees are left behind, the seed thrown will only grow more crooked trees and you have altered the future of the woodlot in a negative way. With Bill Newell’s guidance, we leave behind the best genetic specimens even though they may have the highest value for our logging efforts. Again, our mission statement “doing unto others as you would have done unto you” serves us now and for generations to come.
The videos at right show Conor and Randy with our Percherons at work in the forest.
Above: Conor and our Percherons haul a giant log out of the forest where it will be loaded on a truck and taken for future milling to our sawmill operation. Nothing is wasted, we cut up firewood for our cook stove and chip up the branches for use in our prototype woodchip gasification boiler to heat our buildings and assist the solar kiln in the cold months.