Rabbits have nibbled the bark from this fallen apple branch. If possible, it’s best to prune fruit trees in stages over the winter months (leaving the cuttings around the trees on top of the snow, and especially during the coldest days) to provide food for the resident animals. In turn, they leave their droppings right near the base of your trees, and they are less likely to girdle younger trunks. When you approach food systems from the perspective of feeding the resident wildlife, new mutualisms emerge. It's a new perspective we're occupying more and more all the time--when you consider habitat and feeding patterns of the multiple species that occupy your biome, and you put those first, the benefits soar--just like prioritizing feeding the soil in organic management. The goal is to prove the concept in human food systems, which is what we're interested in resesarching. Anyone else out there who is researching this approach, please be in touch.