Archive for January 7th, 2009

Mack Williams – woodlot role model

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

For the one or two of my readers who might have an interest in private woodlot management, I refer you to the Mack Williams Woodlot Story.

It’s inspiring to read about how Mack transformed a degraded Ontario farm into a thriving mixed forest.   As he states,

… As I age I relax on the property much more than ever before, with a folding chair at various points on the trails. I may read, or just enjoy what Mother Nature has been doing. It is exciting to see, within my adult lifetime, a transition from an open, windswept eroding sandy landscape, to plantations up to 59 years old, some with dense sugar maple understory. I have seen quality logs from trees planted by myself and by family members. I see it becoming a sheltered place of peace and refuge from a hectic world. I am aware of gradual changes happening in the soil. I marvel at the contribution I am sure it is making to quality of air and ground water. I dream that it may become a place for teaching health, biological and artistic subjects. I can see the potential growth that lies ahead, including both the maple syrup and timber potential of the hardwood parcels. I can also see much work I could have done, had I had more time and energy, to make the stands even better. I can see other courses of action I could have taken, with equally exciting results. 
I marvel that Canada is a nation of trees and forests, an ecological, economic, social and spiritual treasure. I wish more Canadians could share this awareness and appreciation. I wish more landowners could have similar dreams and the energy and skills to make them happen. I wish that society might recognize how much it benefits from such a forest, perhaps much more than the individual owners, and how it might benefit greatly from offering realistic support to those engaged in private land forestry …  (ref)

Inspiring stuff for a someone who is just a year into being a private woodlot owner (part-owner).  Mack is a role model worth emulating.

However it’s discouraging to consider that he bought the land in 1946 when he was 22 years old.  I recently had my 52nd birthday, so when I reach Mack’s age (84, 85?), any trees that I plant this year will still be juveniles.  However his story ends with this encouragement …

… And I would hope that landowners everywhere will understand that it is never too early or too late to start.  (ref)

I suppose that if I plant fast-growing hybrid poplar I could still be around to reap the benefits.  However I’m more likely to choose slower-growing native species, and hope that my children and grandchildren will appreciate the results.