Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Since sitting in the hushed sanctuary of our elementary school library I have always loved books.
As a true bibliophile would, I began amassing quite a collection of books about trees when I started planting them in earnest, more than a decade ago. One of my recent acquisitions was a gift that I would like to recommend, especially to anyone new to tree farming.
This excellent forestry primer is “A Landowner’s Guide to Managing Your Woods” subtitled “How To Maintain a Small Acreage for Long-Term Health, Biodiversity and High-Quality Timber Production.”
I especially liked the introduction’s opening paragraph that stated, “Most of us own woods – or want to own them for the same reason…trees make us happy.” Indeed.
What follows are nine chapters that expound on the many tasks and considerations woodland owners face, beginning with the sensible question, “Why manage your woods?” Next, there is an explanation of how forests grow, instruction on how to take a woodland inventory and advice about establishing goals for your property.
Chapter five stresses the importance of working with a forester and collaborating to write a management plan. DIY landowner projects are suggested together with related safety considerations. Chapters seven and eight explain the logging industry and the process of harvesting timber.
The final chapter delves into financial and legacy issues.
Importantly, because forestry does have its own language, there is a glossary. There is also a very helpful section titled “Resources” that lists a diverse collection of individuals, organizations, databases, books etc. that can provide additional information, while a thorough index helps you find topics of interest quickly. Easy to comprehend black and white illustrations appear throughout the book.
My favorite parts were the numerous “Profiles” of real forest landowners from across the country. Included was the fascinating story of Dr. Skeet Burris and his wife Gail, who were the 1995 S.C. Tree Farmers of the Year.
This book’s three authors approached the topics from different perspectives. Ann Larkin Hansen and her husband manage a 125-acre Wisconsin tree farm. Mike Severson is a Certified Master Logger specializing in small private woodlands, while Dennis Waterman has been a consulting forester for over 40 years. Their book was named 2011 Woodlands Book of the Year by the National Woodland Owners Association.
Joanna Angle is a Master Tree Farmer and 2012 South Carolina Tree Farmer of the Year.
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