How Important Is Your Forest?
Posted: April 23, 2007
23 , 2007- For Immediate Release
Contact: Allyson Muth, Phone: 814-865-3208, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by: Gary Micsky, Phone: 724-662-3141, Email: email@example.com
For most people reading this article, your answer to "How important is your forest?" will likely be something like "very important," "critical," or "irreplaceable." Undoubtedly, you have many reasons for your beliefs. Your answer is a testament to your bond with your woods. Perhaps your woods have been passed down through your family and represent part of your heritage. Or, they symbolize the realization of a dream -- owning a piece of Penn's Woods. In either case, you have probably invested a great deal of time and money educating yourself on being a better steward. Forest ownership represents an opportunity for each of us to "do the right thing" for our little piece of the world.
Forest landowners and the resource professionals who serve them seem to have an intuitive gift of vision. Whether it is the ability to visualize what a management treatment will look like ten years down the road, or knowing how today's actions will bring pleasure to others in the days and years to come. Forest ownership is often a deeply emotional issue and research finds that many of us value these "softer benefits" over financial rewards. Ironically, it is our emotions which often affect our ability to ensure the long-term sustainability of that which we treasure. While we watch over the continuous cycle of the seasons and the resulting changes in our woodlands over time, we sometimes fail to learn lessons taught by the forest and apply them to ourselves and our families. When you consider the importance of your forest, ask yourself some serious questions:
- Does your family share your vision?
- Are they engaged in the decisions which affect its future?
- What will happen when you are gone?
- Who is best suited to become the next steward of your forest?
If your answers are uncertain, so too is the eventual fate of your woodlands. Each of these questions depends on good family communications. It is never too early to initiate the type of sustained family dialogue required to ensure the survival of family lands. To this end, an exceptional resource from Oregon State University has been created. "Ties to the Land" provides a wealth of basic information to help you get started or revisiting what may just be your most important stewardship duty -- ensuring its legacy into the future.
The Ties to the Land website will help guide family landowners through ownership transition. Developed to address the needs of forest landowners, the site has relevance for families with agricultural or other land-based businesses as well. The website includes streaming video clips, excerpts from the Ties to the Land workbook, a calendar of events and links to other relevant sites. The site will be expanded, and new features added, to meet users' emerging needs.
The Pennsylvania Forest Stewardship Program provides publications on a variety of topics related to woodland management for private landowners. For a list of free publications, call 1-800-235-WISE (toll-free), send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org , or write to: Forest Stewardship Program, Forest Resources Extension, The Pennsylvania State University, 320 Forest Resources Building, University Park, PA 16802. The Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry and USDA Forest Service, in partnership with the Penn State's Forest Resources Extension, sponsor the Forest Stewardship Program in Pennsylvania.
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