As time goes on, I am sure it will become harder and harder to come up with blogs each month that are interesting and meaningful to readers. I even asked myself “Why do I do this?” There is no simple or easy answer. If I simply wanted to write things for only me then I would write in a diary and keep it under my bed, which I don’t by the way. I obviously want to share some thoughts about the forest and it seems my woodlot is the perfect way to express my thoughts. Anyone who knows me or has been reading my blogs has probably figured out that I am pretty passionate about the forest. But still “Why do I do this?” Why have I put myself on a treadmill to write a blog every month about some aspect of forest management or simply about the enjoyment of the forest? I guess the short answer is, I want to pass on what ever knowledge I might have about the forest to anyone who might be interested. It is not as much about passing on knowledge as it is wanting to stimulate thoughts in other people. It is about “sharing” ideas. It is about working together to create a better forest for the future.
I am fortunate to have a few people who actually follow this blog. This got me thinking “Why do others follow this blog?” Some are my family and I expect a few of them to follow, even if they are not interested! But there are others who have decided to follow what I write and I really don’t know why. I always hope that people who find the site and read some of the things written here will gain some new information or thought-provoking idea. I am always amazed at the countries that readers are from. I get hits from countries around the world! I think when I first started I thought I would attract a few people from Prince Edward Island or at least from Eastern North America, who shared similar interests in managing a small woodlot. But when I see the places in the world that readers are from I am now beginning to think that it is a global community of people who are interested in some aspect of the forest and managing or enjoying it. Or maybe they just wanted to learn a little about forests in Prince Edward Island, Canada, I really don’t know.
Prince Edward Island has recently started a new wood lot owners association. The association is called PEI Woodlot Owners Association and you can find them on the web at: http://peiwoa.drupalgardens.com/. They are just getting started and I am sure there will be more content on the website as time goes on. This association is something my tiny province needs very much. We need people to join together to share information and to join together to encourage each other to do better forest management. We simply can’t do things on our own. At Watts Tree Farm, I want to see the woodlot produce the best and highest quality and valuable trees we can. But the markets are limited, to say the least, in my area. So perhaps by having more people, growing better quality trees, we can reach a critical mass that makes businesses start up and use these valuable trees. It is my vision, but remember – just my vision, of seeing more small businesses manufacturing wood products from trees they find locally. Small sawmills that focus on quality and not quantity. Not the massive commodity based lumber mills that need huge quantities of wood to sustain them. My wood lot is small, as are all of the woodlots in Prince Edward Island. I am far more interested in supplying a few good logs to a local mill that appreciates receiving them than I am of harvesting a large area of my woodlot at one time to supply a large mill. It’s just who I am and now that there is a local association of woodlot owners perhaps we can all work together to achieve some new growth in local businesses who focus on high value rather than high volume.
But of course, the forest is not all about growing the best possible trees either. There is so much more. Doing some things to make the woodlot a better place for wildlife is also important. I have learned so much over the years from other people. Getting out and meeting with other people and sharing information and ideas is how we learn. But I am also finding out that right here online, on the “web”, we can find and share information. So in a way, I am creating a spot online to share information. A blog is mostly one way sharing but not completely. I have had people send me questions which I will try to answer, either in a future blog or directly if they like. I love the forest and I hope somewhere, somehow my words will help someone else to enjoy it too. People can enjoy my woodlot through my blog or they can come on out sometime and actually take a walk through Watts Tree Farm. By working together we can do so much more. Instead of being at opposite ends of the spectrum of what should be done in a forest, we can find middle ground. We can respect the needs of each other and truly build a good and healthy forest that provides products and employment, while at the same time, gives us a beautiful environment to enjoy. The forest really is a great gift to use and enjoy. One that is even greater when it is shared with others.
Until next time, keep safe and well.
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