Monday, November 7, 2016

Proud of My Stumps

Oak stump sprouts
I recently came up on an account written by Bob Kintigh.  Bob was the 2005 Oregon Tree Farmer of the Year as well as the Western Region Tree Farmer of the Year in 2006.  He entitled it “Proud of My Stumps.”  I shared his insights with the National 4-H Forestry Invitational attendees and thought I would also share it with my readers here.    

 Proud of My Stumps

“Cartoonists love to draw pictures of stump covered hillsides and the radical environmentalists love to publish pictures of logged over areas with stumps as negative portrayals of the forest industry in their fundraising letters.  These people do not seem to realize that this is only a short period in the life of a forest.

Over the past 40 plus years I have made thousands of stumps on my forest land.  These stumps and the logging debris are now being recycled and the nutrients are being used by the fast-growing young trees I have planted on the land.  They also nourish a diversity of other plants on the land which provide food and cover for wildlife.

I am proud of these stumps.  The timber removed from them has provided enough lumber to build over 500 homes which means that approximately 2000 men, women, and children do not have to sleep under a bridge tonight.  That’s why I am proud of my stumps.”

By Bib Kintigh

2005 Oregon Tree Farmer of the Year

2006 Western Region Tree Farmer of the Year

Hmmm, interesting.  We all make stumps, at least indirectly.  Don’t we?  Even if you never actually cut a tree down, you indirectly make stumps.  How so you ask?  Well, through your demand for wood products.  Think about it for a minute.  Is there a day that goes by where you don’t use something that came from a tree that someone had to harvest, or turn into a stump?  No, it may be as simple as the lumber that holds the roof over your head or as complicated as the cellulose that went into your toothpaste. 

We all use products made from trees every day.  Bob talked about the number of homes built with the lumber sawn from his trees but there are many other products which trees are made into.  In fact, a recent count listed over 5,000 products made with wood, and the list keeps growing.  It is easy for us to connect lumber, veneer, paper, and firewood to trees.  But, many of the products made from trees do not look like wood at all.  In fact, we use numerous wood products without ever thinking of their connection to trees…… things like ice cream, salad dressing, shampoo, and many, many other products.

So, what is the moral of the story?  We should all be like Bob and be proud of our stumps!  Cutting trees is not bad.  When forests are managed properly, trees will keep producing more wood.  Wood is a truly a renewable natural resource.  So go ahead and use more wood.  We will make more!

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