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Monday, January 18, 2010

Seriously Jude... why are you leaving those trees?



Anytime I’ve prescribed a silvicultural treatment that calls for leaving a fair amount of residual trees during a harvest invariably I’ll hear the catch-all phrase from local loggers, “why are you leaving these trees? There just going to blowdown anyway, so we should cut them now and not let them go to waste!” Naturally, in a good-hearted and thoughtful way, I’ll respond by stating, “not all of them will…. but more importantly let me explain why we are leaving these trees.” So goes a typical day in the woods for many foresters in Northern Minnesota. A day that’s often fulfilled more by explaining the “why” behind forest management than attempting to meet local economic timber needs.

I say that with a bit of trepidation. As a forester, I am very attuned to the timber market conditions that result from a major economic downturn. It concerns me to see people go out of business. No one denies that the logging community and other wood product workers have suffered recently. However let’s not forget an important connection that’s still “in need” if we want to maintain the ability to manage our forests for a variety of needs including timber. That connection is human relationship. The desire not only to recognize the other but to build a shared understanding of “forest community”, where foresters support loggers and loggers support foresters. Although we might be at odds on an individual timber sale, we should recognize that our common interests ought to transcend any minor differences.

So Jude… why are you leaving these trees?  Stay tuned...

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