Forestry as if Earth
& People Mattered
Towards the Education of a New Breed of Forester
It is known that commercial monoculture forestry (not only, but in particular, the mass-planting of non-indigenous conifers) is devastating to the environment and unfriendly to local communities, YET education in forestry remains geared to producing ‘experts’ whose life-long dedication is to this approach. While monoculture forestry yields a product which meets a demand and serves commercial interests, it is the very opposite of a forestry in which Earth and people really matter; and it is often conducted as if neither of them do. Clearly we need to explore and give expression to alternatives which are more – if not wholly – holistic in their approach. While taking full account of environmental factors – impact on soil, rivers, water table, wild life, climate, and so forth – considerations should also be given to how forests can serve local communities.
How, one might ask specifically, for example, could a more enlightened forestry contribute to the revitalization of local and rural culture and economics?
see more: Tree Economics
Forests can be designed not only to provide timber and crops, but also to be multi-purposeful, serving the Earth, its creatures, and local communities, in a variety of ways. A forest can be more than a plantation of trees. It can be a blend of other landscape elements, which can include lakes, ponds (for boys and their boats), reed beds, streams, rivers, waterfalls, and bog lands, offering habitats for a diversity of fauna and flora as well as human access to wild areas providing solitude, mystery and discovery. Such forests can be designed for public use, for walking, riding, cycling, orienteering, camping, and other recreational activities; for outdoor adventures and nature experiences; for outings and field activities for schools, cubs, scouts, guides, and youth clubs; for workshops in woodland arts and crafts; as locations for arts and leisure facilities; as settings for outdoor theatre, sculpture trails, country fairs and festivals. Designed as a venue for a wide range of activities, forests can provide local employment in relation to these.
see more: Value of Living Trees
Towards a New Education
Clearly what is needed for the design of such forests is a multidisciplinary team which, chaired by a forester familiar with the multi-purpose possibilities of forests, would include representatives from government agencies, local authorities, community groups, voluntary organizations, as well as private developers. In addition to the engagement of landscape architects, input is also sought from families, children, poets, artists, and other members of local communities. But of course what is needed for the implementation of this is a new breed of forester who, along with knowledge of the trade and requirements of commercial production, and love of trees, has an understanding of eco-systems, broad social and cultural perspectives, as well as knowledge of the values and roles of trees in human consciousness and culture.
One of the aims of The Living Tree Educational Foundation is to develop course modules to be of assistance in offering training and experience in multi-purpose forestry as well as in the setting up of a faculty specializing in this – namely, a Faculty of Multi-Purpose Forestry & Sustainable Ecological Woodland Management.
see more: Tree University