ECO-Tours only purchases trees and dirt to plant them in...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Benefits For Landowners

ECO-Tours offers consulting for folks who own land. On average, we try to find about ten percent of the landscape, using a process that resembles triage, that would have the greatest impact long term, the greatest benefit to the surrounding landscape and the biggest bang for the time and effort we put in to reforestation. Converting even a single acre to appropriate forest cover can have positive influence over dozens of surrounding acres. We specialize in "seeing" into the future and making the most of the existing ecology and the management of the landscape for the benefit of humans, wildlife soils and water quality for generations. Intact forest provides protection from wind and rain, flying ice crystals in winter and the sterilizing effects of ultraviolet radiation by simply hovering above the soil, creating a column of habitable air between our closest star and the Earth. I find that the most simple reflection on natural areas and the phenomena that take place in each specific location, make them even more mystical, more worthy of protection and more sacred. Our efforts have always been not  only about reforestation and remediation of overly exploited soils, but about the people who live on them as well. We have seen countless examples of health improvements, not only for the people who live around areas that we have replanted, but for those who join us on ECO-Tours as well.

Landowners who choose to embark on the process of encouraging at least part of their property to be reforested need to understand this process as not only important, but crucial in finding paths to sustainability. If there is a massive out wash plain that has acted as a settling pond for agricultural chemical runoff for the last twenty years, we would most likely not want to put too much recovery effort there, until the agricultural practices improve. In active, organic soils, it takes about seven years to reach no-detect levels for most common agricultural chemicals, so rather than continue to attempt to battle these chemicals, we try to steer clear of them. Our physical location at this time lies near the stress line, (45 degrees North latitude) We can travel the countryside and find gravelly hills that are nearly soil-less. These areas would be considered for recovery just as often as stream banks, or steeper hills. Our main requirement is that the landowner agrees to put the land into a conservation easement in perpetuity.

Scientists have long known that crop production can be reliably increased in areas within six times the height of surrounding forest. Again, in our area, mature trees frequently reach 100 feet (33meters) or more. The largest benefit of hosting ECO-Tours on your land is starting down a path toward sustainability, learning how to encourage diversity, host positive environmental change and invest in an account that pays dividends that are far beyond flood control and climate stabilization, they have the power to transform the way we look at the world around us. Each tree we have planted over the years has had the potential to forever change the landscape in a multitude of positive ways.

We do not encourage enrollment in government programs. In our estimation, the enrollment of acreage in forest stewardship, or other similar programs strays too closely to welfare and we do not encourage that. It also has a finite length of time that it will be in effect, leading to the possibility of all of our hard work being nullified in a relative instant. Instead, deeded conservation reserve status forever protects land from development. The legacy we leave, especially those areas we commit to protect will either confirm or deny future generations of their birthright to have experiences in nature. We promise that when the trees that are growing around your house exist there because your hand has planted some of them, you will have a feel for the place that no amount of paying taxes on them could ever provide. What we do best is plant trees and we tend to do it in stages. Many areas have been so depleted and sterilized that remediation is required prior to planting trees. This again, requires patience. Once we can stabilize and inoculate an area like this with soil building organisms, we can often start with pioneer species like raspberries or willow, or any of dozens of native plants. We seek to encourage diversity and each site dictates to us, what will be chosen to "do it's best" in the conditions that we find there. As time goes by, the benefits multiply, for air and water quality, as a buffer for climate change and for the long term health of the communities that thrive when the earth is cared for.

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