By: Bob Gara How forestry began


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  • By: Bob Gara
  • How forestry began
  • By: Bob Gara
  • Where to start?
  • From the beginning of course:
  • Three Nordic gods were traveling together on
  • a deserted earth.
  • Odin –
  • Hoenir –
  • Lodur -
  • AND THEY SAID:
  • As they passed two large tree branches they resolved to make mortals out of them!
  • Aus einer am Strand gefundenen Esche machten sie daraufhin einen Mann (Askr) und aus einer Ulme eine Frau (Embla). Odin hauchte ihnen Leben ein, Vil gab ihnen Verstand und Gefühl (Bewegung) und Ve gab ihnen Gehör, Sprache und Antlitz (und warmes Blut?). Dies war das erste Menschenpaar.
  • “ From these two branches, I Odin will give them breath; Hoenir will give each of them a soul and the ability to reason; and Lodur will give them warmth (warmes Blut) and the color of life.”
  • “ From the man called Ask (ash) and his wife Embla (vine) proceeded the entire human race (Dies war das erste Menschenpaar.)”
  • This heritage probably explains why we love trees and forests!
  • Let’s go back thousand’s of yrs to Mesopotamia
  • and talk about it’s forests
  • The greater civilizations of Mesopotamia was built at the expense of seemingly endless cedar forests in mountains to the east and in the Ammanus Mts. to the north (ca. 2500 – 2000 BP).
  • Sumer: first great
  • civilization!
  • Cedars
  • Within this civilization the Sumerians founded the great city of Ur, where the “Bronze Age” was at its highest.
  • - bronze tools such as axes, hammers, hoes, and sickles facilitated common labor; but
  • - producing bronze increased dramatically the need for wood to fuel the foundry furnaces;
  • - carpentry shops were common
  • - houses were being built of wood
  • Sumerian
  • civilization
  • Larger Mesopotamian
  • civilization
  • Zagros Mts.
  • Then
  • Now
  • The cedar
  • forests of
  • Mesopotamia
  • Many Islamic artists
  • have tried to resurrect
  • these ancient forests
  • Besides cedars, the forests of the Ammanus Mts. yielded:
  • - Euphrates poplar
  • - Willows
  • - Unknown hardwoods, i.e. species elude scholars
  • Products produced
  • - logs, roof beams
  • - levers
  • - pegs and rungs of ladders
  • - posts and rods for basketry
  • - planks and boards
  • - boat ribs
  • - hoes, plows, handles etc.
  • - branches and twigs made charcoal
  • - branch bundles used to reinforce
  • the banks of canals and rivers
  • Archeological restoration of a house in Ur -- heavy
  • use of wooden
  • timbers
  • By the 3rd millennium BP the growing civilization of the Euphrates-Tigris River basin created a large demand on timber resources to the East and, to the Northeast; great battles were fought for these resources!
  • The Sumerians ultimately gained control or the forests as well as the log transportation system formed by the Euphrates & Tigris Rivers.
  • Finally, as trees were felled and placed in the river systems, salt, silt, logs, wooden debris filled the upper reaches of the waterways.
  • The hillsides and mountainous areas were bared and the salt-rich sedimentary rocks of the north eroded rapidly.
  • Some final words about this ancient area:
  • Increased salinization of the alluvial soils of Sumeria COINCIDED with the onset of Mesopotamian exploitation of its northern timberlands;
  • Ammanus mts.
  • (Headwaters of
  • the Euphrates
  • and Tigris rivers)
  • Increased salinization was nonreversible & caused progressive decline in crop yields:
  • - Harvests of barley averaged 2,537 liters/hectare in 2,400 BP (comparable to modern-day U.S. harvest).
  • - Three hundred yrs. later, yields dropped by 42%.
  • Final words continued:
  • Damn!
  • By 2,000 BP, as barley production collapsed, so did Sumeria.
  • - Declining food production due to soil-salinization was the main factors in collapse of the Sumerians. Center of development moved north.
  • What did we
  • do wrong?
  • So, ecological and economic disasters caused by destruction of forests and watersheds is an old story.
  • Time moves on.
  • Pliny the Elder (23-79AD) tells us that the Mts. of Lebanon continued to be an important timber region of the Roman Empire.
  • Later, the Roman Emperor Hadrian (117-138AD) worried about the dwindling timber supply of the Lebanese and Ammanus Mts. and declared a portion of this area as a “Timber Reserve of the Roman Empire.”
  • “ARBORUM GENERA IV CETERA PRIVATA”
  • Boundary of the forests of Emperor Hadrian
  • Augustus: “four species are reserved, the
  • rest are private”
  • Imagine! A timber reserve!
  • There are many more examples of early use and tremendous misuse of forests:
  • Crete and Knossos
  • Ancient Greece
  • Cyprus
  • Rome
  • The Muslim Mediterranean
  • The Venetian Republic
  • Let’s move on!
  • The Roman Catholic Church and, in particular, the Benedictine order.
  • St. Benedict (480–530) gave the order its motto:
  • “Pray and Work”
  • St. Benedict established the
  • first order at Monte Casino
  • in 529 (now central Italy).
  • By the end of the 7th century
  • there were 400 Benedictine monasteries spread all over Europe.
  • It is the way that new monasteries “budded-off” that is interesting to European forestry.
  • (1) As monasteries grew and monks felt crowded, they would leave in groups of at least 12 and enter the unknown forests around them.
  • (2) The new groups would fell trees, build huts, till the newly-created openings in the forest, attract converts and gradually change the countryside.
  • (3) Also, since forested lands were not too valuable to the noble-birth land owners, they would deed tracts of forests to the new cloisters.
  • The monks change the landscape (continued)
  • In 1147 King Conrad III, a Germanic nobleman, gave large tracts of forested lands to the Cistercian monks if they would tame the land.
  • Archbishop of Magdeburg exempted land owners from tithe if they gave their “untamed forests and marshes” to the Cistercian monks.
  • So, for the next 300 yrs. monks drained swamps, cut forests, farmed the land and attracted settlers – the ultimate desire of the feudal economy of the time.
  • As the forests were cleared, some initial forest management principles emerged:
  • In 1040 monks of the Vallumbrosan Order (off-shoot Benedictines):
  • - preserved forests that were on terrain too tough to farm (“places where God would touch their souls”);
  • - encouraged reforestation of cut forested land – prepared the sites for seeding;
  • - planted seedlings dug from the forests;
  • - shaped trees for basketry (pollarding) and stumps for sprouts – fuel wood.
  • By 1595 forest laws emerged
  • A guide for the Trappists Monks near the French town of Trappe:
  • “ … are hereby forbidden to cut any of the woods (trees) belonging to the abbey before the age of 15 years , seeing the poverty of the soil. They shall regulate their coupes (cutting areas) into 15 equal fellings and they shall leave standing at each felling at least five standards per coupe. They shall allow one-third of their forest area to grow as high forests on the best soil … etc.”
  • Forestry 101 for
  • monks
  • Besides setting forest reserves, and providing rudimentary rules on how to manage forest resources, the monasteries were the first to establish coppice and pollarding silvicultural systems.
  • Coppice
  • Pollard
  • i.e. managing the sprouting ability of some tree species into systematized methods of providing forest products.
  • A sprouting stump (coppicing)
  • Pollarding with the
  • new sprouts harvested
  • Arrow stocks derived
  • from pollarding
  • Legacy of pollarding
  • in a beech forest ,
  • England
  • Medieval forest management (Coppice)
  • Coppice silviculture with
  • standards (60yr rotation)
  • Shaded
  • trees are
  • selected
  • as standards
  • 60
  • 40
  • 40
  • 40
  • Legacy of the coppice method
  • still used in Great Britain with
  • chestnut forest
  • Are you getting this
  • right!?
  • Next day: a visitor!
  • Come on, let’s move on!
  • Let’s go to England during the times of Henry VII and his son, Henry VIII.
  • 1485-1509
  • 1491-1547
  • During Henry VIIth reign (and before), England imported just about everything – including armaments.
  • Henry VIIth was shrewd and managed to contain the war-like goals of Spain and France by marrying his son Arthur to Catherine, daughter of the King of Spain.
  • A tiny bit of history
  • Caterína de Aragon
  • Henry VIIth also replenished the treasury after it was emptied by the War of the Roses (1399-1485).
  • Henry VIIIth married Catherine after Arthur died, but Catherine never had a son – and all that Henry VIIIth bad publicity started from this!
  • Tiny bit of history continued:
  • Henry VIIIth:
  • (1) started with a full treasury and
  • (2) made lots of enemies, so he decreed that
  • England would have an arms industry and a first
  • class Navy.
  • Iron ore mining and iron foundries flourished and the beech-oak forests of Sussex were disappearing!
  • Cannon factory
  • Devastation of
  • the forests
  • Bills were introduced in Parliament:
  • - “for the planting and setting woods of trees
  • - for the increase and preservation of woods
  • - for hedgerows not to be put to coals
  • - to avoid iron mills within 24mi of London
  • - to avoid making new iron mills in Sussex”
  • None of these bills passed, guaranteeing a huge conflict between industrialists and ordinary citizens over a rapidly dwindling wood supply and
  • “loss of our surrounding beauty.”
  • Henry VIIIth essentially established the British Navy and Elizabeth Ist carried on its massive construction.
  • Oak especially from Sussex was preferred by shipwrights.
  • Beech and elm also were used.
  • Repairing four of these ships: 1,740 oak trees & to build a new one took
  • 2,000 oaks.
  • Oaks were trained to
  • grow for ship parts.
  • 16th century shaping oak planking for the Mary Rose.
  • Shaping top piece
  • from oak
  • In studying history, we know that important events, are connected.
  • Let’s connect the British Navy with German forestry.
  • Later in this course we’ll connect British, French & German and U.S. forestry.
  • The question is, how long did the wooden-navies of the 17th century last?
  • Maybe a few decades -- Shipworms!!!
  • Shipworms are mollusks that live in wood: their shell is modified into a wood-drilling bit.
  • Time out!
  • Time Out! Let’s mention the sophisticated approaches to forest management that were developing in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and France: beginning 18th – 19th century.
  • German
  • Scots pine
  • management
  • German oak
  • forest management
  • 10 Compartments
  • 100 Ac/compartment
  • 1000 Total acres
  • Each compartment
  • grows 20 cu. units/yr
  • Rotation age = 100yrs
  • Each age class
  • encompasses 10 yrs.;
  • e.g. 100 yr age-class =
  • 90 – 110 yr-old trees.
  • C1 = 10yr-old age class
  • C2 = 20 yr-old age class
  • Cr = 100 yr-old
  • 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
  • 20
  • 200
  • 100
  • 60
  • 140
  • 180
  • Cubic Units
  • Some basic applications of European forestry
  • Do you all remember that the area of a triangle is,
  • Area = (AB)(BC)
  • 2
  • A
  • B
  • C
  • ?
  • Allowable cut = Growing Stock (GS)
  • r/2
  • Von Mantel’s simple formula
  • Volume
  • A
  • C
  • B
  • r = 100 yrs
  • GS = area inside
  • triangle
  • GS = (AB)(BC)
  • 2
  • GS = (100)(200)
  • 2
  • GS = 10,000 cu units
  • Years
  • 200
  • 0
  • Allowable cut = GS i.e. growing stock
  • r/2
  • Allowable cut = 10,000 cu units
  • 50 yrs
  • Allowable cut = 200 cu units!
  • So, for ever and ever you can cut 200 cu units/year.
  • SUSTAINED YIELD FOREST MANAGEMENT.
  • 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
  • 20
  • 200
  • 100
  • 60
  • 140
  • 180
  • Compartments/ Age-classes
  • Cubic Units
  • Once you set
  • up your managed
  • forest, you can
  • cut 200 cu units
  • per year.
  • That’s
  • the annual growth
  • of the entire
  • forest!
  • 200 cu
  • units
  • 200
  • 100
  • 10
  • All of this intensive
  • manipulation is
  • the basic notion
  • behind the sustainable
  • forestry concept.
  • 20
  • Age
  • Volume
  • So, there it is!
  • Hands-on classical forestry concepts permeated not only the beginnings of forestry, but also much later into the 20th century.
  • Sustained-yield forest management is what was taught to generations of forestry students.
  • Crosset Lumber Co.
  • Crosset, Ark.: Prof. H.H. Chapman of Yale University
  • and his forestry students
  • established a sustained
  • yield forest management
  • system in the 1920’s.
  • Let’s get back to the British Navy and the shipworm problem. Teak (Tectona grandis) is a tree species that is resistant to fungi, insects and shipworms; it’s a tree native to India and Burma. Of course the British desperately wished to grow it and manage it. One thing in their favor, teak grew in forests of the British Empire.
  • One of the most respected German foresters was Dietrich Brandis (1824-1907); considered to be the father of tropical forestry.
  • Appointed as Inspector General of Forests by Queen Victoria;
  • Brandis made enormous contributions to forestry in India, Burma, Pakistan, Bangladesh and later to Europe and the U.S.;
  • Published >300 books, papers, and reports in English and German on the value of sustainable forestry;
  • Single-handedly he created the Indian Forestry College at Dehra Dun, India;
  • Became Sir Dietrich Brandis.
  • Empress of India
  • Sir Dr. Dietrich Brandis
  • Brandis’ and his job of managing the
  • teak forests of India and Burma
  • Determined the:
  • - teak volume
  • - the growing stock (Gs)
  • - rate of teak growth
  • - allowable cut
  • - cutting budgets etc.
  • Developed a forest protection program
  • - forest entomology
  • - forest pathology
  • - excellent fire management system
  • Rules on timber purchase, penalties for
  • violations of regulations, and conditions
  • under which land could be cleared.
  • Brandis in setting out to intensively manage the teak
  • forests of India established large management areas which he called “Conservancies.”
  • Forest officers in charge in charge of the conservancies, he called “Conservators.”
  • In 1899, the young American, Gifford Pinchot, met Dietrich Brandis, now retired.
  • Pinchot formed a firm and devoted attachment to Dr. Brandis that was to last until Brandis’ death in 1907.
  • Brandis convinced Pinchot to study forestry at the Forest School at Nancy, France. There Pinchot perused his studies far beyond normal dedication. Pinchot later said, “What I should be as a forester without Dr. Brandis makes me tremble.” 1
  • 1 Winters, R.K. 1974. The forest and man. Vantage Press, NY
  • Pinchot returned to the U.S. and the rest is
  • history.
  • But, he did start the
  • “ Conservation Movement.”
  • “We’ll find later on what’s next in forestry!”


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