Make Woodlot Management a Career

Make a profit in woodlot management by timbering, selling firewood and reforesting on your property or on a lot near you.

| January/February 1979

  • Stack of Wood
    Good woodlot management balances timbering with reforestation. This balance keeps woodlots near you healthy and producing for generations to come.

  • Stack of Wood

Woodlot management is a healthy outdoor occupation that can provide an individual or co-op with steady work, good wages, and a regular supply of firewood for personal use. But these considerations, though important, aren't the only reasons to consider a career as a "tree farmer" . . . because woodlot managers are downright ecologically necessary!

That fact is that there are thousands of acres of privately owned hardwood forests — all over the United States — that are badly in need of management. Though most folks don't know it, these woodlots suffer from "weeds" just as gardens or croplands do. But, in the case of forested areas, this unwanted growth consists of the undesirable, poor quality, or dead trees that crowd out more valuable species.

Now, most of the neglected stands still contain some usable saw timber and great quantities of firewood, but — if the present trends continue — these resources will soon be gone . . . because our valuable hardwoods require regular and careful management if they're to continue to serve us and the generations of the future.

The Neglected Woodlot

Private woodlots — once the pride and joy of the family farm — are now often ignored. The availability of inexpensive fossil fuels, of course, is one reason for this neglect . . . few people are willing to cut, haul, and split firewood when a flick of the thermostat can accomplish the same result. But the problem goes deeper than that. New farm buildings, for instance, are now usually built of fir and pine boards purchased in town, instead of the once — common oak planks milled from the "back 40". And, many modern farmers — with huge herds of livestock or hundreds of acres of crops to tend — simply don't have the time or labor available to manage their woodlands carefully . . . if they manage them at all.

Often, too, woodlots are held by absentee owners who are either unwilling or unable to put in the work necessary to maintain a healthy tree farm. These folks may faithfully tend and weed their gardens, but many of them assume — incorrectly — that any forest with trees is healthy, productive, and best left alone.

And then, people who do heat with wood tend to think that — by using this renewable energy source — they're protecting the environment. This isn't the case, however, unless some effort is made to help nature replenish the timber that is burned. Sadly enough, we often use up our trees faster than they can grow.

guy lemmond jr
5/30/2009 10:57:16 PM

i own two treefarms in east texas. both are fallow farms that once grew cotton and subsistence crops. i am gathering equipment for operating both as tree farms and deer leases. the million mile plus diesel tractor will deliver lumber from my sawmill and firewood from the weed species that grow here. any input that will assist me in establishing sustainable operation of these pieces of land will be appreciated. i am already selling the carbon offset through an aggregator. thank you. guy

8/18/2007 1:28:04 PM

Since my Father past away Sept.,6/06 I am left with 80 acres and a secluded lake in Tuscarawas Co. OH (Amish Country). I have a large bank barn in need of repair and an 80 acre woodlot that needs attention (Free Heat). Looking for a homesteding person to repair barn to live in,space below for animals,chickens,garden. Need house up keep for private guest retreat (Yoga, meditation, quiet reflection to un-plug)vaccum,wash linens etc. Only people with a true heart that live to give and share natures endless wonders need to reply. Namaste'

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