I realize that we are complete newbs at this. I’ve felled trees with a handsaw or with an ax in the past. When I was a young buck, I did landscaping to make extra money while I was in school. Now, though, we have acres of land to clear. We bought two new gas chainsaws: a 22″ chinese knockoff and a 16″ Poulan. Both together cost < $300. Both are flaky and hard to start and keep running.
Saturday, I spent more time trying to get the saws started than I actually spent clearing. We did take a little video, which I’ll post. The Jeep came in handy for dragging logs. Seems to be the Jeep’s perfect and natural use.
Art’s Prejudice Against Land Clearing
Clearing land, to me, always seems so evil because of the rep that slashing & burning in the Amazon rain forests created. However, I realize that the East Coast was completely wooded until we came along and settled and put in farms. I realize that the when buying local produce around here, we are buying produce from a farm that was cleared by farmers generations ago in order to put in their fields. Clearing land is a necessity, to an extent.
However, I am well aware of the ecological impact of clearing the land. I realize that by clearing the land, I am destroying habitats for small creatures, even on an acre. I realize that I am affecting the natural succession: I am removing succession trees and leaving weed seeds sun to come up and restart succession. I realize that I also have to be concerned about erosion and water, so I have been planning to mitigate with swales and vetiver.
I have to keep in mind that these are all natural processes. I am just accelerating it for the purposes of agriculture. Tree-wise, I will be planting as many trees per acre as there are naturally. Tree guilds and ground cover will build the soil. All of the wood that we harvested will be chipped at the farm and applied to our new soil as mulch. I have to keep in mind that I am building soil and leaving a positive impact on the ecosystem, and that 100% complete conservation is at odds with the desire to design anything, let alone a farm. I have to keep goals in mind and design and act with a conservation mindset, which still moving forward. Doing nothing does not feed my family.
Key thought: I am a part of the natural system. I am basically one big elephant terraforming the land. It is not unnatural for me to change a landscape, and it is not wrong.