Managing Forests for Native Biodiversity
Recommended for Private Forest Landowners
Arc of Appalachia Preserve System, Southern Ohio
Last held September, 2009
This course is now past but may be offered again in the future.
- Forest succession
- Evaluating forest health & history
- Qualities of a functioning forest
- Recognizing primary forest habitats
- Global view of the temperate forest
- How to inventory your own property and create a plan
- Aesthetics and diversity as factors in management
- Goal clarification
- Non-native influences
- Forest restoration techniques
This course is for forest stewards who want to do the right thing with their privately owned forest, whether that forest is urban, rural, a quarter acre in size or a thousand. The truth is, there is no one morally or scientifically right thing to do. What one does depends upon what the landowner’s specific goals are, where in the world the forest lies, and what the particular forest's past history has been. A very popular goal is to manage a forest as sustainably as possible while maximizing timber production and associated income.
Another common goal is to manage a forest as recreational hunting ground for one or more selected game species. There is a third path, often the one less followed, that focuses on stewarding a forest to maximize its capacity to support native bio-diversity. There is nothing wrong with taking any of the above approaches. A landowner succeeds by having clear objectives, by understanding the trade-offs and benefits, and employing the most time-tested practices applicable to his or her goals. This course is designed for those land owners who are most interested in cultivating bio-diversity, aesthetics and biological complexity in their forest.
This course focuses on the most important principles of restoring and managing a ecologically-functioning forest, and the ability to recognize the results. Considerable time will be spent in the field. We will be visiting dozens of landscapes with a variety of past land uses, exemplifying a range of health and function. We will visit to healthy mature forests, young forests following timber harvesting, and abandoned agricultural lands. During the course we will be concentrating on "reading" the history of the landscape before us, and discussing possible restoration and management techniques that could be applied to each site. The course will also include orientation to the extensive data assistance available on the web at no charge to the browser -- including aerials, topographical maps, and soil maps. Participants will be actively involved in discussion and dialogue throughout this course.