Forestry


Would you like to add “forestry” to your skill set?

If so, you may be surprised to learn how easy it is to get started.

The first step is simply to identify the existing trees and bushes, starting with the largest and most numerous.

But first …

What is the goal? The goal is to create a healthy woodland.

A healthy woodland …

  • Features a variety of native trees.
  • Contains a minimum of invasive species.

Why?

The Biodoversity Connection …

We all want to cultivate biodiversity locally and globally. There is no biodiversity without healthy mix of trees, and a minimum of invasive species.

Why?

The Butterfly Connection …

A healthy mix of trees can support thousands of species of butterflies and moths. An unhealthy mix of trees supports none.

Seriously …

The densest, greenest forest is a desert to butterflies and moths unless it contains a healthy mix of native trees, like oak, redbud, native willow, native maple, cherry, birch, apple, etc.

Sadly, this describes very few of today’s woodlands. Most of today’s woodlands are overrun with invasives, like bush honeysuckle, which toxifies the soil and chokes out native trees and plants.

We want to remove the invasives and plant a variety of native trees.

So … back to tree identification …

The first step toward a healthy forest …

…  is to identify the trees and bushes to determine which ones are native and which ones are invasive.

No prior experience required …

You can do a tree inventory even if you have no prior experience with tree identification.

Identify some trees …

Go outside and pick a tree. Take 3-4 pictures, some up close, some further out.

Join Plant Ident 101 on Facebook.

Upload your pictures and say something like “ID, please”.

If desired you can also join “Kentucky Native Plant Society” and follow the same steps.

Wait a few minutes for responses.

Can you identify deciduous trees in the winter?
Identifying deciduous (non-evergreen) trees is easier in the summer when the leaves are on, but even in winter it is worth a try. You can tell a lot by the bark and the shape of the tree.

Repeat …

Repeat this tree identification process and tell you have a good grasp of the largest and most numerous trees and bushes on the grounds.

Manageable chunks …

If desired, you can focus on some subset of the property and give it a name such as “the woods by the creek” or “the woods east of the barn”.

Upload to our Facebook group …

After getting an ID of a particular tree, please upload your photos to the Facebook group “Earth & Spirit  Environmental Leaders”, and tell us what it is.

Make a list of trees …

When you have identified that largest and most numerous trees, summarize your findings in a list.

Descriptions …

You might also describe certain trees or populations by reference to the “caliper”, the approximate width of the tree.

For example you might say that in your area there are ten sycamore trees with caliper exceeding two feet.

Invasive species …

In addition to identifying trees, you should also identify the most prominent invasive species in your woods.

The most common invasives at Earth & Spirit Center are bush honeysuckle, wintercreeper and English Ivy.

Marketable skills …
This effort will be worth your while because tree identification skills will set you apart in the market for jobs in forestry, habitat restoration, tree sales, park management, landscape consulting, etc.

To get started on the Earth & Spirit Environmental Leadership Program, click on Getting Started.