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Discussion: Forester Friend

in: Charlie; Charlie > 2018-07-26

Jul 27, 2018 8:01 PM # 
It would be interesting to know more about your friend's forestry work. For instance, what types of trees, why amazing, and how much land has he devoted to his work?
Jul 28, 2018 5:50 PM # 
He has about 160 acres or so. He identified 13 different tracts within the property that had been cut at different times, and he has continued to do some intensive subsequent management on each of these parcels, very labor intensive, releasing favored trees from competition, maintaining a diverse (although almost exclusively hardwood) forest, maintaining inventory records of what is in each stand, etc. He can tell the number of trees of each species in each stand, and the distribution varies based on the soil type, the aspect of the land, the slope. He has a lot of oak, red, black, white, chestnut. A lot of birch: black, white. A lot of tulip poplar. Some ash, some sugar maple. Of course many other species, but that’s a sampling of the major types. He has broad grassy roads, a couple of substantial bridges that can support forestry machines, forests in different life phases, from early successional to mature, lots of wildlife. His house is on top of a steep hill with wonderful long vistas. He has fenced large parcels as they grew to reduce deer browsing, but nothing is fenced now. An interesting guy. A little quirky. But many of us are. He has been divorced for quite some time, has had some very serious girlfriends from time to time, but doesn’t seem to have any attachment right now.
Jul 28, 2018 6:14 PM # 
And amazing because of the labor-intensive precise management of so much land over so long a period. I feel like I put in a lot of effort around here, but it’s not 5% of what he has done. Of course it is both his job and his hobby. He started working this particular land for a client whose family had owned it since the civil war. Then around 6 or 7 years later he was able to buy it. He has only lived there for around 13 or 14 years, since he got divorced. When he built his house he modeled it more or less on my barn. Bays for vehicles or equipment below, living quarters above.
Jul 29, 2018 5:37 PM # 
Ha ha! His house sounds like medieval housing in Scandinavia! Except farm machinery below instead of farm animals! No wonder he got divorced.

Nice to know he has an American Chestnut that survived the blight of 100 years ago. That link opens an interesting documentary about the tree. I'd love to see a mature specimen.

Unfortunately we here in the midwest are losing our ash trees in a similar devastating manner; dead and dying mature ash trees blanket some of the golf courses I've played this summer. All caused by the Emerald Ash Borer. Tragic. But only a pale copy of the aftermath of the chestnut blight.

How does he make an income from such an endeavor? Does he cut or thin those tracts of hardwoods and mill the timber? Does he prune his trees to produce furniture-grade lumber? It all really sounds fascinating. Does he have a website?
Jul 29, 2018 6:33 PM # 
He is a consulting forester, works for landowners (like me). He has made money selling forest products from his land, too. At one point he was selling hay. Pretty sure no website. He used to have a place in Montana, too. His house is fairly nice. Not a factor in his divorce, as that happened before the House wa built.
Jul 29, 2018 11:46 PM # 
I think there was a misunderstanding. Although he may well have plenty of American chestnut stragglers, and possibly though not too likely a mature specimen, the "chestnut" in Charlie's paragraph above was a list of species of oak. Chestnut oak.

I do know of the locations of a few healthy mature chestnuts in the northeast, though I can't be certain that they aren't hybrids.

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