Forests of Rural Towns in and Near the National Forest
Easily confused within the literature of "urban forestry," itself very important, the forests of rural towns and small cities is a topic of immense importance. It is a subject like so many other modern topics, on the cusp among disciplines. At once forestry and parkland management, it is also interlaced with poorly-defined terms like urban ecology, urban forestry, community forestry, social forestry, vertebrate pest control, outdoor life, nature study, ecotourism, viewscape management, and others. In 2012, researchers from the U.S. Forest Service used satellite imagery to analyze the amount of tree cover compared to the amount of land covered by pavement, rooftops, grass or bare soil in 20 U.S. cities.
They found tree cover declined in 17 of the cities.
We suggest as part of the entrepreneurial development for the Forest and its region, that strong efforts be made, perhaps in collusion with existing enterprises, to develop a modern sophisticated program for creating, restoring, and managing cost effectively scenic, healthful, nature- and tree-dominant communities of rural towns. It is likely to require a cooperative, a business or public/private coalition, or a conglomerate to achieve the benefits of diversification and synergistic relations. There is no single word or phrase than means this now. We call that total system simply Elves, Inc. (small creatures, small forests, etc. with marketing appeal and potentials) and the results are Elves lands, the more natural managed spaces of trees and shrubs, landscaped spots, streamsides, ponds and their borders ... and coordinateion with Viewscapes ... both into and out from the town.
Elves is a response to a growing need for community forestry and related work, for giving land an appearance of being under care. It is to attract and to retain the attraction of visitors and tourists. It seeks to help manage the outdoor appearance of small towns and villages throughout the Forest region. All small rural towns now suffer financial difficulties and "forests " are far down most lists of needs and budget lines. We believe that Elves is more than personal town "makeup" or cosmetics. It is the results of what government was once intended for, projects that individuals can rarely do alone. Towns are too small for creating and maintaining a tree and nature service group. Elves seeks to be a regional group, achieving economies of scale, allowing superior natural resource work cost effectively for rural towns, independent developments, corporation lands, and communities. Elves can play a vital, diversifying group for Rural System. The system serves under contract towns and communities throughout private lands (and recreational and roadside areas) of the entire Forest. It, however, is also involved in the management and uses of the underlying and surrounding lands and waters, human health and safety near trees and their areas, pest issues, noise attenuation, energy conservation, and related lawn and plant communities. Even small cities do not have the resources and capabilities planned for Elves to provide the towns in and around the National Forest.
Clearly profit oriented, Elves gives special attention to enhancing the environment around homes and rural structures, reducing unfavorable views, achieving energy economies, and retaining the value in ancient trees and those of great beauty and historical importance. It has an educational role, one of increasing the appreciation for the beauty and functions of trees and shrubs in the human environment. That appreciation must lead to improved tree care, improved roles of trees, and, secondarily, to improved forest management in the larger rural environment. Obviously attuned to the science and knowledge base of forestry, the work of the group is much different than that of The Forest Group. It deals with the specimen tree, the landscape shrub, vine, and and tree-group. It is especially well qualified for creating and maintaining the beautiful, inviting town street. Esthetics, economics, and the pruning and removals of trees close to town structures assume special prominence over those activities usually encountered in forestry activities. The work of enterprise teams includes removing small and hazardous trees, pruning trees and shrubs, consulting and giving advice on the role of trees in the landscape, suggesting tree selection and planting, diagnosing insect and disease effects, removing stumps and brush, and providing emergency services related to trees. More specific activities, diverse and profitable in year-around activities:
The planned activities of Elves include those listed above as well as:
- Providing computer-aided tree valuation, images, and documentation for insurance and other purposes. There are existing systems, but an alternative is available and when operated by the hand-held field computer, provides information for subscribers for the service, standards and conditions before problems may arise, and a basis for litigation if needed in insurance claims against damage experienced from storms or accidents.
- Selling planting zone map. GIS maps of the conditions of the region (soil, slope, aspect, elevation, shade, water relations) provide information on the factors that influence the suitability of a site for any tree species. The map is a way to prevent future problems, suggesting what trees should not be put in certain sites … just asking for trouble later from diseases, insects, and other stress related problems. In addition, a new planting zone map similar to that of the US Department of Agriculture and distributed for horticulturists will be sold.
- Mapping the trees of a landscape. Foresters map forest stands but similar single-tree maps can be produced. R.H. Giles made one for the Homestead Hotel and resort grounds (Bartlett contract) in West Virginia in 1954. They are especially effective for neighborhoods and when ages of trees or sizes are recorded, they can chronicle the change in songbirds, early-morning noise problems, and even the advent of vertebrate pest problems (such as woodpeckers drumming on gutter drain pipes, raccoons at the window, squirrels and bats in the attic, and large animals in the gardens).
- Plotting specialized solar maps (shading of gardens and trees by buildings and topography etc.) The relations with The Gardens Group seems evident and such a map will be used for shrubs as well as other plantings, with clearly-known separations into "shade-loving plants" and other classes.
- Scheduling care and treatment of mapped trees
- Developing replacement schedules and plans
- Estimating leaf volumes produced annually (with computers as a function of tree species and ages and health) for estimating leaf pickup costs and for moving litter to a soils development area (see Novosoil and Alpha Earth)
- Working through Stoneworms to create needed foot and bike trails.
- Actively working with and promoting the Tree Tops enterprise
- Planting shrubs ( food and cover) planting for designed "wildlife backyards"
- Operating leaf pickup systems for processing and movement to soil amendments
- Chipping stems and trunks for moving products to soil amendments
- Doing commercial sawing of large stems and solar curing for uses throughout the enterprise (see Sculptors)
- Preparing Firewood for the Camps Group and sale to others
- Making specialized planting at Memorial sites
- Selling and installing giant pots, planters for trees and shrubs in landscapes and towns
- Laying plumbing systems for root watering systems
- Developing drought strategies for landowners and towns
- Selling town and county arboretum plans, as well as contract installation and management
- Developing espalier gardens
- Conducting soil analyses for ownerships with maps
- Selling the Clumper, a single-person lawn leaf-pickup device
- Selling Ecorods, environmental health monitoring devices
- Selling specialized tree tag (names)
- Selling signs, made from the wood of "the special tree" (homesite removals etc.)
- Selling items (made from special trees or parts removed) as presents for families or friends that knew or were related to the tree (See Topics)
- Selling sets of drink coasters made from treated branch cross-sections
- Selling specialized select set of CDs and books for tree identification
- Writing and selling tree-related books including images in Stills and a corporate expert base
- Selling services and products to other tree-related companies ( competitive, the objective remains for improving the esthetic and related quality of the region)
- Promoting tree-related poetry
- Preparing tree health status reports for insurance protection
- Conducting shade tree "scores" for insurance and landscape value purposes
- Sponsoring tree identification contests for children and adults (including CD and Internet support)
- Providing brass names on all major town and special trees
- Developing web sites for members - special trees, big trees, tree health, trees and large animals, trees and interesting animals,
- Providing trees and moisture stress information - promoting the Heikkenen hypothesis and its study
- Promoting integrated tree health management systems (not IPM)
- Working with Pest Force for squirrel, bird, and related vertebrates-in-trees problems
- Displaying for the public the natural history of tree damage and related problems
- Doing post-lab-analysis tree fertilization
- Working with and study of sugarbush potentials in select areas
- Providing specialized expertise and care of the walnut vales
- Studying uses of and supplying waste and chipped wood and sawdust in animal care facilities ( goats, rabbits, geese, dogs) and for mulch or Novosoils
- Supplying wood as available to The Fence Group
- Developing specialized uses of The Trevey or a Trevey-like system for corporate and farm owner customers
- Conducting tours of trees of the rural area - diverse species, problem trees, superior trees for local residents as well as tourists
- Developing an expert system(s) for tree and shrub selection and care
- Working with The Garden Group in developing and selling computer aids to plant selection
- Developing life curves (similar to forest yield curves) for each local tree species, then dynamics of the "beta-forest" - the total trees under management, as they mature over the 150-year planning period
- Responding to requests for proposals and initiating funded research activities
- Writing a book on managing the beta-forest (forest management as if each tree was a stand) producing leaves, cooling shade and energy conservation (Btu), wood, stems and firewood, viewscape component, wildlife nest spots, wildlife foods, disease risks, mosquito and micro-arthropod sites, local employment potential
- Providing a sales and pricing book and/or web site (the e-catalog) presenting available products and services.
May 25, 2005