Blue Earth Forest Farm is an off-grid forest-farm in British Columbia, Canada.
The Nlaka’pamux people have lived here for 1000's of years sustainably and respectfully.
It is our intention to respect this wisdom and the peoples carrying on these traditions.
We are a Douglas Fir climax forest on the edge of a Ponderosa pine - bunchgrass dry zone.
Our watershed is the mighty Thompson river.
We have much to learn and much to heal.
Let's get to work!
Using Permaculture, EcoForestry and BioMimicry principles we are regenerating and restoring the forest understory, edges and meadows to preserve top-soil integrity, maximize moisture holding capacity, and increase the fungal matrix.
Our mission is to grow and wildcraft our foods, medicines and building materials ALL while allowing the forest to return to a mature uneven stand with old growth characteristics.
Currently there is a 100 years of forest mismanagement by our colonial government.
This is now admitted by the government and there are big changes from above being promised. While these promises are in slow motion we will not stand around and wait for them.
Record forest fires in the past decade have finally led to this admission for change.
While the notoriously slow wheels of bureaucracy attempt to shift gears to more sustainable forest models, the private sector is busy moving as fast as possible.
New buzzwords of silvopasture, agriforestry, permaculture, restoration agriculture, food forestry etc. are building momentum on private woodlots, community woodlots and farms big and small that work the forest' edge.
The cutting edge of science is revealing the massive importance of fungal networks, tree pheromones, our immune system and the gut microbiome.
It's time to work with, and not against, these natural systems of creation.
One of the critical tasks at hand while settling on the land in the interior dry lands of British Columbia is to thin the forest to pre-colonial states of natural balance.
Currently, by my estimates, there appears to be 60% too much carbon standing in the forests that surround our homestead.
Using permaculture and eco-forestry mapping we are working systematically in zones 1 and 2 dropping this 60% of carbon on to the forest floor.
We are low grade selecting the "weaker" trees and leaving the "stronger" trees.
This low grading, over time, will eventually lead to a higher quality stand of mature forest.
The larger of the "weaker" trees we will mill for our homes, cabins and sauna kits.
We will leave some large trees down each acre as nature would do.
There is so much carbon to remove, we are, in a way, blessed with many smaller trees.
These trees are cut up for firewood, used for post and beam structures, posts and rails, and placed on the earth to mimic the large "dead-down" that one would see in a natural forest.
We lay these trees down along the contour of the earth which acts as a swale/hugelbed.
We are 3 years into this practice now and the swales are starting to decay, hold moisture and act as fungal batteries much as large dead-down trees behave over time.
UBC forestry visited us a few years ago and they encouraged us to document this process.
UBC has been working on ways to eliminate slash piles in forestry practice.
We are now calling this a Slash-Swale On Contour (SSOC).
To restore the forest back to dry interior symbiosis the goal is to not see any trees canopy touching another trees canopy.
This way, not if, but when a forest fire comes through it will naturally burn through the understory, lick up a few trees, and do its part in the forest fertility process.
Currently, with so much carbon overgrowth, a fire cannot do this safely but can only get pulled up into the canopy where it can rip through the overstory for 100s of kilometers and wreak havoc on the forests by burning too hot and on the communities by being extremely difficult to contain.
Here are some photos of some swales/hugelbed's we've started building into the landscape.
These SSOC's will help:
passively slow the movement of water,
keep it on the landscape as long as possible by spreading the water along the contour,
soak into the soil and irrigate the plant guilds by creating a water lense,
all before gravity pulls the water back to the Pacific ocean via the mighty Thompson river.
Welcome to the fungal revolution!