Farmers have long practiced sustainability to survive. Whether crop, tree, or various other products, farmers must be good stewards of their lands or the lands will cease to produce effectively. I learned this as a young boy growing up on our family farm.
One day, I was griping to my father about having to plant trees and he commented, “That, son is the future.”
This principle is still alive today. I think of that as I plant trees that I will never live to see harvested. I thoroughly enjoy spending free time on the farm and have planted well over 2,000 trees.
In early 20th century, farmers got overzealous and eradicated trees like weeds, even burning them to get rid of them. This led to erosion problems and loss of wildlife habitat. Now, most of the United States has more forested area than 100 years ago; deer and turkey have returned to our region in large numbers.
Managed forests with a combination of native grasses can provide important wildlife habitat needed for a healthy ecosystem. Proper use of trees in landscaping can reduce heating and cooling costs as much as 25%, but also can reduce the use of fossil fuels needed to make up the difference.
My wife and I manage nearly 200 acres of a combination Certified Tree farm and participate in Kentucky’s Wildlife Habitat Improvement Program (WHIP). A combination of healthy woodlands management to include invasive species eradication and erosion control and wildlife food plots has helped reintroduce native Bobwhite Quail species in our county.
Remember, you are not alone in an endeavor like this. Resources are available through your state Department of Forestry, the USDA and Department of Fish and Wildlife.
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