The mission of Greenleaf Forestry and Wood Products is to create a business fostering Full-Circle sustainable forestry- creating lasting and perpetual benefit to communities and their forests.
What is Full-Circle Forestry? Greenleaf's Concept
Greenleaf Forestry and Wood Products is creating a Full-Circle model for community-based forestry that integrates forestry services with production of forest products. Rather than operating as a traditional logging forestry operation, Greenleaf focuses on managing high-value lands; residential and recreational properties, lands near communities and parks for forest landscape aesthetics and ecological health.
In addition to planting trees, removal of trees and wood is always involved. Greenleaf's further innovation is to use these salvaged materials to create value-added wood products, while selectively harvesting larger trees and seeking alternative uses for slash. As a successful community-based small business, Greenleaf offers employment to numerous individuals and contributes to the local economy. In turn, economic wood products support forest care.
Greenleaf recognizes that on residential and recreational properties, as well as in the forests surrounding cities, towns and parks, most of the trees have the highest value when the best are left standing-- both to the property owner and to the forester. Traditional forestry focused on tree harvesting may still be the best use of larger forested tracts; but on high-value lands, Greenleaf manages forests so that the best and largest tree are left standing as part of the landscape, healthy, and of minimal fire hazard.
While tree planting is one aspect managing forests for landscape and health, removal of trees and limbs is another. Greenleaf's crews thin overly dense forests to allow individual trees to grow vigorously or to reduce fire hazard. Over three-quarters of the trees removed are small-diameter. Other larger diseased, infested, or dead trees are also removed, particularly trees infested with mountain pine beetles. "Beetle trees" are especially critical because if they are not removed and dealt with properly, the beetles will spread to infest other trees. Salvaged wood comprises a large percent of Greenleaf's wood. Slash (limbs and other smaller pieces of wood) is also removed to improve aesthetics and reduce fire hazard.
Greenleaf also manages large tracts of land for more traditional logging through selective long-term timber harvesting. On such tracts, individual trees are marked for removal by the forester, with great attention to maintaining sustainability. Removal is done so as to minimize impact. In some cases many of the trees harvested are large-diameter trees, as well as quantities of smaller trees.
Rather than burning or dumping the trees it removes as part of forest landscape and health operations, Greenleaf salvages them to make into value-added wood products. This salvaged wood is first either milled into rough cut lumber or peeled by hand or machine to make poles. Lumber and poles are then sold or made into furniture, cabins, and roundwood products. "Beetle kill" wood, usually large-diameter Ponderosa pine, is ideal for furniture products such as benches and tabletops, not only because of its size, but also because of its uniquely beautiful blue tinge. The siding, flooring, and posts of cabins are made of rough-cut lumber from smaller trees, while larger beams are more often made from selectively harvested larger trees. Greenleaf's roundwood products, constructed with poles made from small-diameter salvaged trees, include ladders, railings, a variety of fences, ranch entryways and trusses. Remaining low quantity wood is also sold as firewood.
Slash is also put to use, though this is ofte difficult because of its small size. Greenleaf selects certain pieces, particularly "character wood," for furniture legs and railings. Greenleaf is also building a facility in which slash can be burned to heat the buildings at the sawmill site. Ideally, slash could be used to run a generator to power some of the mill site.
Community-based full-circle forestry is envisioned to benefit the community economically,socially and environmentally. As a part of forest management operations, Greenleaf gives landowners credit at market value on salvaged wood to help offset service costs. This enterprise also creates and maintains a number of jobs, ranging from highly educated foresters to entry-level workers. Its product and service sales support the local economy. Greenleaf also provides education in sustainable forestry through workshops and internships, and improves the local forest environment through its operations.
As a Full-Circle Forestry enterprise, Greenleaf seeks to combine sustainable forest management and manufacture of wood products to maximize the benefit to both the community and its surrounding forests.
Operating on the principle that on high-value lands the best trees should remain standing, Greenleaf manages for landscape aesthetics and health. By salvaging trees, removing slash, and selectively harvesting, Greenleaf gathers resources to create cabins, furniture, roundwood products, lumber and firewood. These products in turn support the community and forest care.
Greenleaf hopes to create a greater community of landowners, students, professors, public forest management agencies, policy makers, and foresters who endorse Full-Circle community-based forestry, adapting this model to their own communities and collaborating to expand support of our communities and their forests.