Letter to the Editor

Forestry science

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Dear Editor:

With modern technology and science in industry it is possible to speed up by many decades the harvesting of forestry products to be used by industry or to generate electricity. The same way corn, wheat, oats and grasses are planted and harvested every year.

Even after speeding up the growth of forest products, it still would take multiple years even with scientific forestry management.

America's forests fall into three categories: 1. federal or national forests. 2. State owned forests. 3. Privately owned forests.

There is the possibility of creating federal or state programs -- contracts with private owners of forests: A. To give tax breaks. B. Profit sharing (with governments). C. In exchange for government scientist's management of private forest lands, and D. Allowing public hunting -- recreation on private lands, sometimes.

Dams and lakes may be built in waterless areas to provide water for wildlife and public recreation.

It is within the range of possibility for engineers to invent, develop and manufacture heavy equipment, probably on tracks, that incorporates, a chipper along with a feeding system for tree tops and stumps from logged out forests, equipped with diamond tipped cutting chain for non-desireable kinds of trees or underbrush, also mechanically fed into the chipper.

Requiring logging companies to cut tree stumps off even with the ground, after felling trees, may be necessary for speedy chipper work.

This is particularly so for softwood trees like southern pine, yellow pine, or spruce, etc.

Although technology makes it possible to include hardwoods like maple, several species of oak, ash, hickory, etc.

The chips can be used to power steam turbines and generate electricity, or spread on the forest floor to speed decay.

Then the planting of desired seedlings (started in nurseries) would create additional job opportunities with proper spacing of seedlings to allow for sunlight when the trees grow taller.

Tree tops left on the ground and underbrush slows by many decades, or as much as a century, the new growth of desired kinds of trees, since seedlings need sunlight and this is not enough space for the seedlings to get a start.

The different species of softwood trees do not normally have lower branches.

Hardwoods in sunlight have lots of lower branches. In forestry management these lower limbs may be cut off when the trees are young, resulting in the tree trunk growing faster and with more straight logs for lumber, or more straight fence posts from trees like Osage orange or locust, etc.

Tree tops from logged trees decay with time and work as nature's way of recycling natural fertilizer. Chips left on the ground would speed the process by many decades.

Ashes from wood fires contain potash, a natural fertilizer which when spread on forest ground can speed up re-growth by 75-100 years.

Ashes may possibly be spread over forests by aircraft.

Forest fires are nature's way, sometimes, of recycling and to clear trees grown too close together, preventing them from growing big. Fires clear underbrush in some situations, allowing native grasses and young long leaf trees to grow as browse, that game animals such as the deer family, eat. Fires allow more sunlight on the forest floor and seedlings.

Some types of long leaf trees may be planted in designated areas after chipping.

Dead, burned out forest trees are usable as home heating firewood, or for firing steam turbines to make electricity. And wood smoke is cleaner than coal smoke.

Squirrels bury acorns and other seeds and then forget where all they left them, which is nature's way of re-planting trees sometimes.

Humans can speed up the process without depending only on squirrels.

Properly managed forests have more game and fur bearing animals.

Acorns from oak trees, are the natural foods of deer and turkey, also. patches of small Christmas tree may be planted as cover for game.

Eli D. Byler