Woodlot Management – Enhancing Values

It is my hope that many of the people who follow this blog are woodlot owners looking for more information about what to do with their own piece of forested land.  In future blogs I will write about many things going on in Watts Tree Farm and why some management decisions are made.  Before I talk about management decisions and various woodlot management techniques I think it is important to start with some of the basics.

Christmas trees provide more than just economic benefits. They provide recreation in the form of healthy exercise.

To manage a woodlot your must decide what you are managing for.  It is mostly a matter of deciding which forest values are most important to you.  You can always do something to enhance the values that matter most to you.  But if you haven’t given any thought to the things you want most from your woodlot, then you may not be doing the best things to change, or protect the forest to get the results you need.  If all this sounds a little unclear I am going to try to explain.

A woodlot can give us many things.  But, what I may want from my woodlot, may be very different that the things you may want.  You need to take some time to think about all the ways you use your woodlot and write these down.  Think about which things are more important.  In other words, prioritize them.  Here is a list of some of the reasons why people own and manage a woodlot:

  • Economics (you want to make money or save money)
  • Personal sanctuary (peace and quiet)
  • Wildlife
  • Close to nature
  • Recreation
  • Protecting a special piece of land or ecosystem
  • Spiritual connection
  • Aesthetics
  • Responsibility (we owe it to the next generation to do the right things today)

Young Robins enjoying the safety of a densely sheared Christmas tree.

Of course there are more and many of these can be broken down into more refined reasons why your woodlot is important to you.  Once you have a list of the things that are important to you then you need to put them in order of importance.  Not all woodlot management techniques are beneficial to all of the things on your list.  There is always give and take.  That is why you need to understand that an action that enhances one value could reduce another value.  This does not mean that you can not have many values, you certainly can. Deciding which values are most important helps you find a balance.

Taking a walk with my two best friends.

The list above is more or less in the order that is most important to why I own and enjoy my woodlot.  A lot of these would rate very close to one another.  It is difficult to put one thing ahead of another unless it is something that really stands out to you.  I have economics at the top of my list.  It was probably the strongest reason why I bought the woodlot in the first place back in 1978.  But over time other features have moved up the list and perhaps, in my future years, other reasons could go to the head of the list.  So as you see these things change with time.

Protecting a stream with the cover of trees is in everyone’s interest.

In future blogs, I would like to write about some management techniques that can satisfy many of the things on my list.  Growing quality, not quantity, is one of my prime areas of interest.  Looking forward and gaining more money from a single tree is something I hope more woodlot owners will achieve.  Of course there is a leap of faith that these larger,  selected and managed trees will have more value in the market place.   I look forward to people writing to me at: sid@sunsettrading.ca or leaving your comments on the blog site.

Until next time.  Keep safe and well.

(click on any photo for a larger image.)

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