Posted on February 13, 2017 @ 09:29:00 PM by Paul Meagher
I attended a "Backyard Forestry" workshop over the weekend at The Deanery Project. The workshop was led by Jamie Simpson author of Restoring the Acadian Forest (2015).
The workshop was a combination of lectures and round table discussions. About half was practical learning outdoors in the woods and in a workshop where we went over chainsaw maintenance and operation.
A critical decision any woodlot owner needs to make is what trees to promote and what trees to thin out. We revisited this question many times first by learning to identify the various tree species and then learning what tree species tend to dominate in native old growth forests and favoring those species in our thinning practices. This is how you can "Restore the Acadian Forest" (or any native forest for that matter). The Acadian Forest concept also involves an appreciation for standing and fallen dead wood as habitats for birds, small mammals, insects, frogs, etc... and as a way to replenish the soil. One point that Jamie made frequently was that you always have to be looking up when trying to determine what trees to keep or remove in your forestry management. You are often looking for signs that the tree is dead or on the way out and this will affect your decision to remove or not. I will be looking up alot more when I walk through my own small woodlot.
Here is Jamie (to the left) amused by what Tom Rogers (My Acadian Forest) was saying. Jamie spotted a yellow birch hardwood amidst mostly softwood trees and was advising us to actively promote that tree by thinning a few trees around it, but not too many because lack of density when young can encourage bad form.
Jamie also picked out a few Red Spruce and advised us to promote that species as well. He advised us that it wouldn't hurt to remove some Balsam Fir (aka Christmas Trees) because many factors are conspiring to make that species over represented in the local forests. The Acadian Forest concept celebrates the diversity of native species that this forest system can support as it straddles the southern range of the massive Boreal Forest system and the northern range of southern forest systems. Over time, selective harvesting from a diverse and uneven aged Acadian Forest can potentially be more lucrative and more sustainable than clear cutting approaches (especially if we take into account non-timber products and services) but it takes more time and patience than the plantation mentality of forest management.
In the evening Jamie and a few of the participants played guitar. Jamie also plays fiddle and during one of his tunes this big old Alaskan Malamute dog started to howl along. I managed to capture a bit of his howling towards the end.
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