Light through the woods
September 30, 2011, 9:07 pm
Filed under: September
Thinned out neighbor woods

September 30, 2011

     My neighbor had his woods logged off. I think he thought he was going to get a nice selective harvest. He now has no woods, lots of debris and a war zone to look at out his back door. I think he is sad… I know that I am.
     The woods was in need of a nice thinning. There were large trees that needed to be harvested. There were cull trees that needed to be removed to make way for nice future timber growth. There was maybe even a need to harvest a bit heavy-handed just to get some light into the forest floor. In my opinion, there was no need to lay waste to 19 acres of timber, suspending the next harvest for probably 75 to 100 years… I am teaching my boys a different way to manage a woodlot.
     It starts when the boys are young. You teach them the names of the trees. You show them the animals and eco-systems. You let them experience the solitude and wonder that comes from sitting under a tree and just listening with your soul. You teach them the value in cutting dead and down trees for firewood. You show them how to build habitat for small woodland creatures even as you glean limbs from the forest floor.
     You see, I make them stewards of the land. I train them in sustainable forestry. I lead by example and teach them about water quality and how to protect it. We make riparian buffers, sod waterways and use best management practices in our farming methods. This ensures no negative impacts are felt by nature or our neighbors.
     Trees are a crop. They need to be managed. sustainable forestry , just like sustainable farming takes a little longer, pays out a little slower, but leaves the land better for the next generation. The woods and farm soil are living bank accounts ….overdraft is an easy thing to do, but frugal management builds wealth.
     I was a logger. I chose to get certified by the state in best management practices. I know it is the right thing to do. I think our foresters should have to abide by stump limits and reforestation should be demanded on every piece of timber that is harvested.  Landowners should demand it and loggers should insist upon doing it, to perpetuate their own livelihood!
     Rape, pillage and plunder was the way of pirates and barbarians. It was a bad thing back then and it is still not good. The scars on the land will take a long time to heal. Re-growth will happen in time … but my time is way to short to ever see a magnificent oak in that woodlot again… in fact only my grandchildren, will have any hope to see one there. Seventy five years from now my granddaughter will be almost eighty years old. That will be pretty old for a little old lady, but just a teenager for the mighty oak.
     I won’t ever have that quick feeling of wealth as my bank account grows from a single check from selling off our woodland holdings. I prefer instead to look at the wealth I am passing on to my family by teaching the value in the woods itself. Harvest? yes, by all means, but do it slowly, correctly and with a gentle spirit. It will provide for many generations, only getting better as the years go by, people, animals and a host of other living creatures will benefit.
     Now … That Is Real Wealth!

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