Tree Notes is about trees -- especially native trees, trees for wildlife, and trees in history.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Principles of good forestry from 1923

Increasing the productivity of woodlands

Visiting from Please read this.

The following forestry practices are recommended in a 1923 agriculture textbook. They still seem valid today, though I've added a few notes.

1. Only the ripe [mature] trees should be selected when cutting the crops.

2. Injury to small seedlings and saplings should be avoided.

3. Diseased and misshapen trees should be removed and used either for the market or at home. [NOTE: You should ask your state forester or county extension agent how best to remove a diseased tree. Felling the tree may puff disease organisms into the air and spread the problem.]

4. The inferior trees should be removed if the space is needed for better ones. [NOTE: Avoid monoculture.]

5. A few large trees should be left to reseed the woodland.

6. Pasturing with animals that will injure the young seedlings should not be permitted.

7. Fires should be excluded and notices calling attention to fire damage to forest growth should be posted. [NOTE: I really don't know what to say about this. Fire has a role in forest ecosystems, and foresters frequently do "controlled burns." On the other hand, do you really want to have a fire in your woodlot? If you do decide to introduce fire, get some advice!]

8. The stand should be thinned so as to secure the best growth, but heavy thinning is not desirable.

9. Sprouts from stumps form stands called coppice. These should also be thinned, leaving the best sprouts.

10. Trees damaged by storm should be removed before they are attacked by insects and disease, which would spread to others.

11. Brush and waste after all cuttings should be piled and burned. [NOTE: It would be a good idea to check local burn laws before lighting up the pile.]

Source: From the chapter titled "Woodland Projects" (p.322) in The New Agriculture for High Schools by Kary C. Davis, Ph.D. Published in 1923 by J.P. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia.

Related post: When logging, get some guidelines!

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4 comments -- please add yours:

pablo said...

All of that passive voice sounds so odd to a contemporary ear, especially in a list of instructions.

I have some copies of the Missouri Conservationist magazine from the 1940s that are interesting. They speak of the benefits of planting rambling rose, a plant that has now grown out of control in the state and has official eradication programs. It also speaks of the benefits of a new insecticide called DDT.

I wonder what practices we have now will be found to be terrible 50 years hence.

Genevieve said...

I am sure that we are making our share of mistakes. One bad thing is the many weed-plants that are becoming resistant to herbicides!

It remains to be seen how much harm will be done along with the good that comes from gene splicing.

I do think the public today is much more aware of the possibility of exotic species becoming invasive.

Omar said...

The forestry practices and your additions are very valid; not only in America, but in any part of the world. I only wish we follow these practices always.

Genevieve said...

Thanks for your comment, Omar. I agree -- they are sensible suggestions for any forest anywhere. These simple things could make a great difference in the health of a forest.

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Enrich your life with the study of trees.

"The power to recognize trees at a glance without examining their leaves or flowers or fruit as they are seen, for example, from the car-window during a railroad journey, can only be acquired by studying them as they grow under all possible conditions over wide areas of territory. Such an attainment may not have much practical value, but once acquired it gives to the possessor a good deal of pleasure which is denied to less fortunate travelers."

Charles Sprague Sargent (1841-1927)

Print references I frequently consult

Benvie, Sam. Encyclopedia of North American Trees. Buffalo, NY: Firefly, 2000.

Brockman, C. Frank. Trees of North America: A Guide to Field Identification. Ed. Herbert S. Zim. New York: Golden, 1986.

Cliburn, Jerry, and Ginny Clomps. A Key to Missouri Trees in Winter: An Identification Guide. Conservation Commission of the State of Missouri, 1980.

Collingwood, G. H., Warren David Brush, and Devereux Butcher. Knowing Your Trees. Washington: American Forestry Association, 1978.

Dirr, Michael. Dirr's Hardy Trees and Shrubs: an Illustrated Encyclopedia. Portland, Or.: Timber, 1997.

Elias, Thomas S. The Complete Trees of North America; Field Guide and Natural History. New York: Book Division, Times Mirror Magazines, 1980.

Grimm, William Carey. The Book of Trees;. Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole, 1962.

Hightshoe, Gary L. Native Trees, Shrubs, and Vines for Urban and Rural America: a Planting Design Manual for Environmental Designers. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1988.

Little, Elbert L. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees. New York: Chanticleer, 1996.

Martin, Alexander C., Herbert S. Zim, and Arnold L. Nelson. American Wildlife and Plants. New York: McGraw Hill, 1951.

Mitchell, Alan F., and David More. The Trees of North America. New York, NY: Facts On File Publications, 1987.

Randall, Charles E. Enjoying Our Trees. Washington: American Forestry Association, 1969.

Settergren, Carl D., and R. E. McDermott. Trees of Missouri. Columbia: University Extension, 1995.

Sternberg, Guy, and James W. Wilson. Native Trees for North American Landscapes: from the Atlantic to the Rockies. Portland: Timber, 2004.

Wharton, Mary E., and Roger W. Barbour. Trees and Shrubs of Kentucky. Lexington: University of Kentucky, 1973.

Wyman, Donald. Trees for American Gardens. New York: Macmillan, 1965.

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