tree farm

Unlike forests, which provide their own nutrients, capture and filter their own water, and harbor high levels of biodiversity, tree farms are usually plantations of one or a few species grown in large stands of uniform age and cut down well before they reach the maturity characteristic of old growth. Such farms might produce Christmas trees, but more commonly they produce lumber or pulp, as in the pine plantations of the southeastern United States. Concerned about the replacement of mixed forests with industrial monocultures, several organizations now certify management plans for tree farms aimed at preserving biodiversity, water quality, and wildlife habitat. The Menominee Indians of Wisconsin have shown what sustainable practices might accomplish, by harvesting, over the past century and a half, more than two billion board feet from their tribal lands while improving the health of their forest and increasing the amount of standing timber.

Scott Russell Sanders