Implementation (Part 6)

After completing this chapter you should (hopefully) want to:

  • try something new
  • experiment on the ground
  • spend time making observations in the field.

Terms to Remember

  • initiative
  • leadership
  • creativity
  • fun

Apply Your Knowledge

Systems dynamics, a topic studied by many business analysts, can become so complex that it is almost impossible to fully explain. Silvicultural systems can be like that. The more you look at them, you start to realize that silvicultural systems embody the entire topic of stand-level management, which is the study of silviculture. To try to explain how these systems work and should be prescribed so that success can be guaranteed, is an impossible task. Like learning to play the piano, prescribing silvicultural systems can only be explained and described for so long before it must be practiced to be perfected. For some of the true geniuses who either play the piano or prescribe silvicultural systems, book learning wasn't always a necessary ingredient, but practice could not be avoided.

Experimentation carries a certain amount of risk; this workbook and the existing body of literature on silvicultural systems tries to reduce this risk. Be well informed before you prescribe. However, do not be afraid of making mistakes. Try to identify the unknowns and the risks. High risks can sometimes still be worth taking, especially when they involve numerous unknowns that can only be clarified through experimentation. The key is to experiment on a small scale when the risks are high and/or the unknowns are numerous. Try out new approaches and risky options on a small scale in the back forty, where they don't have the potential to compromise an important view, water supply or wildlife population if they fail. Just remember, if you have searched the literature and you still aren't suretry it out!

Observe Nature

The "earth as a textbook," and "nature as a teacher" are popular phrases among many. However, in the world of budgets, plans, meetings, and paperwork, we seldom get the opportunity to do what we long for as foresters: to walk the woods and observe what is going on; to return to past projects and observe results with our own eyes, rather than relying on the data of others. Such observations may not just be important every once in a while, but are necessary annually, or even several times per year. Forest stands are more dynamic than we give them credit for.

Nature will reveal only what you take the time to look for. It is not enough just to be there. You must know the right questions to ask and the places to look for answers. Spend as much time as you can in the woods with someone more knowledgeable than yourself (at least on certain topics). Just remember, we can read and study all we like, but we put it into context on the ground. This is the essence of forestry - the reason why most of us decided to pursue this profession. Have fun and stay keen.