It is not often that my trusty assistant (who shall remain nameless) and I get into arguments, but the stacking of split wood for drying is one place we constantly butt heads. He argues that the way they have always stacked wood has worked just fine, so why change. To which I counter that he has dropped too many trees onto his head. Needless to say, we don’t haul and stack wood together very often.
In an earlier post, I introduced the concept of agroforestry. In this post, I will expand on what agroforestry is, and how it is being used here in Wisconsin. Although this post may seem very agricultural centered, I should point out a few things. One, many woodlots are associated with farmsteads, and are not seen as a profit center for the farm, though they could be. Two, landowners are finding the costs of owning land to be so high that they lease their land to neighboring farms. Is there a way for both owner and farmer to benefit in ways they each want or need to use the property? Three, some of these are more forest centered (see forest farming), and can be a new way for woodland owners to spend time in their woods.
Clearcutting is one of several harvesting systems utilized in the state to achieve certain goals create conditions to favor certain tree and wildlife species. When done correctly, they can maintain the long term sustainability of a fores.
It may be helpful to understand the ecology of mushrooms before you get started hunting your own, or even growing them. A mushroom itself is a fruiting body, kind of like the acorn of an oak tree. The fungi itself (the tree trunk) is often hidden from our eyes either in the soil or the trunk of a rotting tree. Sometimes you can find them; they may appear as long, white, interconnected strands. Those strands are finding the nutrients needed to keep them growing. When conditions are right (usually a combination of day length, humidity, and heat), they will produce a mushroom.
This is a busy time of year around our offices as our Learn About Your Classes have started, in 23 locations and on the web. One of our topics is planning for your forest, so I thought I would take some time today to share some insights with you. I was reading a couple of resources in preparation for my talk, and came across a good entry. The topic was “Why people don’t manage…and why they should”. Several reasons were mentioned: “I hunt, and am not interested in the trees”, “we just want a place to retire”, “I don’t want my land damaged by a logger”, and “I don’t know what to do”.
Family members are invited to participate in activities like deer hunting, and asked to help with tree planting and harvesting. But more often then not, their input is not looked for when decisions are being made regarding the management of the woodlot. Many times they are turned off by the phrase “my woods”, when they could be encouraged to be a part of the “family forest”.
Just this past week, I saw a local florist advertising that they are now purchasing boughs (or branches from conifer trees). In fact, nationwide, the most frequently sold NTFP is boughs. The most common use for boughs is of course wreaths. Other uses include garland, floral arrangements and producing aromatic oils. Luckily for those of us in Wisconsin, the preferred tree species for wreaths is balsam fir (Abies balsamea) which is a very common species in the state.