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The Spirit of Forestry

4 December 2009

By Steve Olson

Fond du Lac Forestry

December brings the Spirit Moon.  Spirit reminds me of the spirit of managing the land.  FDL Resource Management is currently carrying on a tradition that has endured thousands of years.

In the book 1491 Charles C. Mann describes how the land in the Americas was managed prior to the arrival of Columbus. For example, Eastern forests were managed for nut crops. Native management strategies encouraged chestnut, oak, and other trees with edible nuts. Vast openings were created to entice bison movement eastward, out of the prairie and into the eastern forests.

Today FDL Forestry continues this land management tradition.  For a number of reasons our forest landscape is presently dominated by aspen; we are trying to re-introduce oak into this system.  FDL forestry has been planting oak since 1988.  Aspen is a tough competitor growing 4 to 10 times the height of the oak.  But armed with a brush axe, chainsaw or brush saw, we give the oak a chance.

This winter Forestry will continue a wildlife project along the Stoney Brook.  We’ll be using brush cutters to mow down alder and willow.  In another 2 years we’ll burn the mowed areas. Much like it did before 1491, the burning will keep the brush back. In summer, the resulting grass and forbs will feed the wildlife we depend on for food in winter.

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