urban-agroforest cooperation

Robert Underwood runderwo at plains.NoDak.edu
Fri Feb 24 15:20:24 EST 1995

In a search for a forum to discuss urban forestry issues, the suggestion
keeps coming back that we use the "underused" alt.agroforestry newsgroup. 
Being as proud of my field as others are of theirs, I at first rejected
this idea, but after some thought, I can see advantages for both sides. 
Please consider the following and respond. 

1. Agroforestry, combining agriculture and forestry, is probably a major
building block in the future of both fields.  However, we are dealing with
two fields whose funding has taken a large hit at the national level. 
Efficiency of production in these fields have reduced the number of voters
directly involved in production. 

2. Decisions are made by legislatures of people elected from urban 
areas.  They have either no idea of what is happening in the "wilds" 
outside the city limits, or possibly worse, have an understanding based 
on their last relative who farmed or logged 50 years ago.

3. Many news accounts concerning environmental issues are designed to
entertain rather than inform.  Many of these authors have studied other
news accounts on the subject, rather than science.  They are concerned
more with the rare, exotic or endangered nature, rather than that part of
nature which works normally.  The newsgroups may be the place inform the
masses with the facts which do not make good headlines. 

4. Due to the above arguements, all forestry has become urban forestry. 
Perhaps we need to cooperate more.  Urban foresters, agroforesters and
timber management foresters all speak different languages.  Perhaps we
need to "interpret" for each other.  I will close with an example: 

Hazard trees in a western park campground were removed.  Using our best
urban forestry techniques, the stumps were cut flush with the ground and
covered with debris to blend with the surroundings.  "Environmentalists" 
immeadiately protested.  This was just a sneaky way of harvesting timber
from an area where it is prohibited by law.  Now plastic explosives cut
the hazardous tops at 50'.  Due to the fact that few people look up as
they walk, this stump goes unnoticed.  Those who notice assume the top has
been blown out by the wind.  City and wild stumps are different. 

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