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An Ecosystem Approach



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An Ecosystem Approach to Forest Management: 

While many forestland resource managers are concerned solely with the growing of trees as a commodity, forest farmers are primarily concerned with the growing of healthy ecosystems and being good stewards of the land. Forest farmers agree that trees are a commodity and advocate judicious use , but generally, most of the products derived from forest farm management are a byproduct of the work for forest ecosystem health.


Our Philosopy on Forestry:

(For those who care to delve deeper) 

 
Our philosophy is simple- the term "sustainable" means what is sustainable for the earth, not what is sustainable for man's demand.  Nature can only produce a finite quantity of any resource from a piece of land.  If we take care of her needs and treat her with respect, she will be more than generous with us. 

Past forest management practices have been to take as much as you could, as fast as you could, with little regard to the massive disruption to the land itself and its natural processes.  Economics ruled. 
 This has left thousands of acres of cut-over forest land to regenerate as well as it could on its own.  The result is second and third generation growth of tangled masses of trees and seriously degraded ecosystems.  Much of this productive timber land grew back as scrub oak woodland, never to be forested with conifers again. And along with this physical loss of forested land, we have lost their forest ecosystems. Technology has enabled man to take trees far faster than nature can regrow them, yet we have not even paused to realize what we are doing, except taking resources to make money and meet mans insatiable appetite.   

Forests of trees provide humans with many benefits and enable us to survive in our earthly habitat.  Denuding vast landscapes seems to be pretty self-destructive when you stand back and understand that we are robbing ourselves of oxygen, altering the nitrogen cycle, eliminating entire species of plants and animals, and actually creating micro-environment changes.  There is a cause-effect relationship in all of nature and we have caused far reaching effects in our use of the forest resources.  

Our Forest Farm is managed primarily for a balance of ecosystem and habitat protection, while obtaining some commercial value from the by-products of our management efforts.   We try to maintain our land's natural  forest growth conditions with a variety of native species of varying ages.  We respect the complement of species that nature has selected to keep this land productive.  Although our land favors conifers,  predominately Sugar Pine, Douglas Fir, Incense Cedar and Ponderosa Pine, we try never to eliminate any species. We have made ongoing attempts to reintroduce a few of those species known to be native to the specific area, but not currently found onsite due to past forestry activities.  This applies to hardwood and softwood tree species, as well as shrubs, forbs, ferns and other flora. 

We believe that every species has its place and its value in the natural order of  the earth, though that purpose may not be one of financial worth.  Often its value may lie solely in providing habitat or food for the abundant wildlife found here.   As forest farmers, we grow ecosystems- not just trees.  
 The trees that are taken down and turned into lumber or other products are usually a by-product of our efforts to rehabilitate and improve the health of the forest.  Normally, our focus is not to manage for the dollar value of a tree as a product. Which is to say that we rarely remove a large, healthy tree unless there is a good reason for it.  Sometimes large, older trees develop heart rot or become susceptible to pests or diseases, which preclude leaving it to grow.   Most often, removal of trees is due to our thinning efforts, which enable the healthy remaining trees to thrive.  The trees that are removed, have generally been suppressed and therefore have tighter growth rings, meaning stronger wood.  So, although they are not massive logs which easily produce large quantities of lumber, they provide a smaller quantity of quality wood products with a bit more effort.   

Our objective is to restore and maintain the health of our forest land's many and varied ecosystems.  That does not mean that we do not believe in cutting trees as a resource, it means that we believe that we must be cognizant of our effect on the environment and careful in our management of the forests.   It is only through the efforts of those who believe, as we do, that the earth's forests have value far greater than their value in dollars, that this important work can be realized.   Our efforts to find a balance between conservation and judicious utilization of the forest's abundant resources, are vital to the future of our planet earth and the survival of humans as a species. 

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2016 - 31 years



Our Forest

This Forest Farm was established in 1985. 

 Educated in the Sciences, coming from agricultural/resource families, and despite a great deal of  background and experience in the environmental sciences, there was still much that we did not know about the forest and its inhabitants when we bought this land.  We just knew that it was an incredible grouping of natural ecosystems, with extensive water resources; wetland and riparian areas; cool, dark North aspect timbered slopes; dry, hot South aspect slopes and transitional areas imbetween.  It is a very unique and diverse collection of natural ecosystems and we knew when we first saw it that we had to protect and nurture it.  Over the years, we have come to discover that our forest farm is a microcosm of the entire region.

Our own little eco-lab, ready made. We have educated ourselves in the management of our forest's components and familiarized ourselves with our land's many different areas and ecosystems. We have tried out and accumulated the appropriate equipment for our needs and learned to operate and maintain each one.  Along the way, we have honed our skills in working with our forest.   We have constructed inconspicuous roadways for access and small landings to allow us to work without causing undue damage to the forest interior. We have undertaken riparian improvements-removal of old vehicles that were utilized as embankment, along with the  re-establishment of native species shrubs and overstory to provide a shaded. cool riparian environment. We have developed several of our many springs to provide us with water and utilized gravity to carry it where we need it.  It is hard work, but we really enjoy what we do and feel that we serve an important purpose in trying to keep our forest ecosystems healthy, diverse and growing strong for the future.    

  

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View to West from the hillside above our house. Many species are represented on our forest farm

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View to the South from the hill above the house


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For info or to offer comments on Ecological Forest Management- Rx for Forest Health.

Kendrick Forest Farm.com   
Wilderville, Oregon