Sustained forests; sustained profits

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Walnut Vales

Within the scope of active work by foresters is the concept of specialization. We propose to develop a specialized, central interest in the black walnut (Juglans nigra). This is a highly valued tree and grows well only on some sites. By knowing the characteristics of such site, locating them with the GIS power of the Lasting Forests, mapping the sites, buying or leasing the acres, it will be possible to develop extensive highly productive walnut forests. The wood is valuable. We shall harvest walnut trees under contract. We'll process them to maximize the value. For example, a log sawn locally into furniture parts or gun stock"blanks" produces far more value to the Forest and its people than shipping whole logs to North Carolina furniture mills or to unknown users.

We cannot depend exclusively upon tree growth for adequate profits for it is slow. The right number of acres can be amassed to stabilize the harvest and money flow. A smaller but important money flow will come from harvesting nuts. Many people have walnut trees. Few people use the nuts because they are difficult to prepare. Few know about commercial nut-meat producers. We can unify the small producers (as well as increase the number and rate of growing trees on contract land).

By planting trees at optimal spacing, maximum total longtermvalue (not necessarily maximum nut production or clear wood) can be gained, with spacing traded off between the worth of volume added to the tree bole and nut meats and products.

Literature, contract work, developing models, and exploring secondary uses of the toxic nut hulls and tree bark, and excellent pasturage are all parts of this forestry specialty. One idea to be explored is to explode hulls under heat and pressure (a 1999 Va Tech process). Liquid extraction of toxins from this substance (along with grape seed waste) may be used along trail and road sides to develop specialized communities without using petro-chemicals. The trees are often found open grown in small valleys, thus the "vales." These areas are also designed with barriers as stream flood control areas. A regional center of interest and expertise can be created.

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Last revision January 17, 2000.