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Forest Farm Management Principles



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Forest Farm Management Principles:

Forest Farm management principles constitute an ecological approach to forest management.  This type of management has been developed primarily by small non-industrial landowners, specifically to deal with the secondary growth forests of the Pacific Northwest.  Every land manager has different management techniques, depending upon what their goals and concerns are for the property and each has the right to manage as they so choose. The following discussion outlines forest farm management principles.


For the most part, the forests of the Northwest were not  managed with the natural environment in mind, in the past. They were primarily utilized for the sole purpose of production of wood fiber.  Little care was given to prevent habitat destruction and less to rehabilitating these forestlands after logging occurred.  Not to point fingers and say that it was wrong, that is just the way it was done.  But time brings changes in technology and science. Methods and priorities change. 

Since the 1980's a handful of Oregon forestland owners have been at the leading edge of a new generation of forest managers. These forest land owners have found that the best method of managing these cut over lands is to try to enable them to recover as complete forest ecosystems, emulating the natural forest processes to enable their return to health, as they were prior to man's entry into the forest.  Many forest professionals and land owners think of these lands only as less productive, "secondary" forests of single species, even-age timber stands which are to be left alone until time to come in and cut them all again.   Forest farmers believe that these forests have been overused and are so fragmented that their natural processes are completely out of equilibrium and must be manipulated in order to bring them back into ecological balance.

There is an interconnectedness between the various organisms and processes within a forest ecosystem.  The forest is continually changing and our work simply attempts to understand these interconnections in order to speed up natural process changes.
 Many forest tree stands need to be thinned, but no species is ever to be completely decimated. There should never be so much thinning that the crown cover is depleted leaving the forest floor exposed to excessive sun, rain and erosion.  Multiple entries should be made to accomplish thinnings so that the systemic shock is not so great. There should be a cross-section of trees of all ages and species, rather than a monoculture of timber species. Trees are not thinned solely for the removal of the largest healthiest individuals- in fact wherever a healthy large tree can be left, it is left to grow larger and stronger to provide excellent reproductive seed stock. The weaker, sick or damaged trees are removed from overstocked areas to give the healthy trees more space, nutrients and sunlight so that they may thrive.  

Today, whether they call themselves forest farmers or not, ecologically minded forest land owners take heart in the knowledge that, although their efforts may not bring them a great deal of financial reward, it brings forth an even greater reward... the knowledge that they are helping to maintain a biodiverse, natural forest environment that can support many creatures and a healthier earth for the future.    

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We love our healthy trees

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A beautiful Redwood tree

 

Forest Thoughts

  

The Earth's natural environment

is an enormous, prolific garden

full of many and varied natural resources

available for man's use and enjoyment. 

 In exchange, he must tend and care for it

in order to ensure its health and productivity.

 

The natural environment is man's environment.

Natural forest ecosystems,

as with all other natural ecosystems,

 must be protected intact 

 in order to enable life on this Planet. 

 

We are Earthlings and must think of our planet

Earth, first, above all other considerations,

 if we expect to continue life here in perpetuity.

 

People are not the only living things

 on this beautiful blue-green orb.

Our forest alone is overflowing with an incredible

 diversity and quantity of lifeforms.

 

We cannot continue to pillage

 the natural environment,

as if tomorrow did not matter.

We must learn to take only what is necessary

and protect the remainder

so that it can regenerate

to provide a sustainable supply

for the future.

 

 

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Photos on this website may not be copied, reproduced or otherwise utilized without express written consent and appropriate credits.

 

Other reading: 

 

In the early 1980's Orville Camp published his book, "Natural Selection Forestry", which galvanized landowners to resist standard forest practices and allow nature to tell them how to manage forests.

 

In 2005, j.a. Kendrick wrote "Alex's Forest Farm, the Ecological Approach- Rx for Forest Health" which gives the basic strategy of their three-entry management technique and chronicles actual forest management activities utilized to accomplish goals. This book contains a plethora of information on basic forestry information, and shows how to incorporate ecological forest management into mix. It photographically exhibits onsite work, and includes an incredible array of native tree and plant species, identified by family.   

Kendrick Forest Farm.com   
Wilderville, Oregon