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Ben Law on the way of the woodsman

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Welcome to a special episode edition of this ongoing series focusing on tree planting and agroforestry. Often when we think about agroforestry we think first about food. Orchards of fruit and nut crops are certainly an important aspect of agroforestry, but so is the responsible harvesting and care for woodlands for building materials and fuel. For a long time now I’ve admired the work of Ben Law who’s a woodsman, permaculture practitioner, and author of many books on developing, tending, and using the products that come from the woods.

Ben is a wealth of practical knowledge and is a founding member of the Forest Stewardship Council. He also has worked for Oxfam as a permaculture consultant. He’s also the author of The Woodland Way: A Permaculture Approach to Sustainable Woodland Management.

Ben’s woodland house has been featured on The World’s Greenest Homes, a series of the Discovery Channel’s Planet Green and his latest book, Roundwood Timber Framing, is a full color guide to his beautiful and traditional building techniques.

This is a special episode today, because it comes from the archives of one of my favorite podcasts, one that helped to inspire me to begin my own back in the early days. Since I can hardly hope to improve on my friend Scott Mann’s exceptional interviewing style in the Permaculture Podcast, I reached out to him to ask if he would allow me to rebroadcast his interview with Ben and he generously said yes.

Scott and I, along with our friend and colleague Jill Cloutier from Sustainable World Radio have teamed up to form the Regenerative Media Alliance, a union of independent media producers working to broadcast regenerative solutions across the world.

Be sure to stick around until the end where I’ll share more information about this alliance and give you the early signup information for the RMA’s professional development conference.

In this interview, Ben and Scott discuss a wide range of woodland management ideas and options like coppicing and pollarding. Ben describes some of the valuable skills and products that can be central to profitable forest management or forest based businesses. Overall I really love this conversation for the mindset that comes through from Ben as he describes his deep relationship with the woodland that he stewards and I hope that it helps you to look at the forest in a deeper way as well.

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