Project Promises Decades of Sustainable Hardwood Forests
Rockler Woodworking and Hardware has announced a special contribution in partnership with the Hardwood Forestry Fund foran Earth Day project to plant 7,000 hardwood trees. The trees will be part of a forest regeneration program called The Wilds, and the Hardwood Forestry Fund will work with The Wilds to manage the project. The trees planted will be Red Oak, Chestnut Oak, Black Walnut, Sugar Maple, and Tulip Poplar seedlings – hardwood species that are valuable for sustaining wildlife as well as for commercial harvest. The plantings are the first step of a 65-year plan to regenerate native forest on abandoned mining land. The project will be executed in phases of planting, survival monitoring and replanting, growth monitoring, thinning and selective harvest, commercial harvest, and then regeneration to start the process over again.
The Wilds is a private, non-profit conservation center located on nearly 10,000 acres of reclaimed mining land in rural southeastern Ohio. From its inception, The Wilds has been envisioned as a facility that combines cutting-edge conservation science and education programs with unique visitor opportunities.
The Hardwood Forestry Fund, a not-for-profit, educational organization, targets planting and management of commercially valuable hardwoods, including black cherry, black walnut, red oak, hard maple, hickory, ash, and others. All trees planted by the Hardwood Forestry Fund are included in a management plan, harvest, and regeneration schedule.
Sustainability and Species Diversity
Every Hardwood Forestry Fund project requires a sustainability plan. Each project plan is unique to its specific site and takes a variety of factors into account including wildlife, water quality, and conservation goals. As one stand of trees becomes fully mature and commercial harvesting is underway, it is crucial to have other batches of trees at varying levels of maturity to sustain the cycle.
Selecting the appropriate tree species for each project is also a vital component to its success. Soil type, annual rainfall expectations, high and low temperatures, and other environmental factors all help to determine which specific varieties of hardwood trees will thrive in a specific area. The right mix of tree species also helps support a variety of wildlife, ranging up the food chain from insects to birds and even large mammals. Optimizing the species distribution also gives the reforested area the best chance of long term survival and can minimize the maintenance required by human caregivers.