New Vegetative ManagementLearning a plant's cycle of life in it's surroundings is interesting in itself. Each has its own personality and most are somewhat social in that they love to cohabit.
With this in mind, Robert Menzies has developed what he calls, "New Vegetative Management" (NVM), which he explains is caretaking -- sensible management by local people, not so-called stewardship by environmentalists.
NVM is a way of looking at the whole land base, not just the merchantable timber, but the soil, the ferns, the rocks, the animal life -- the whole picture. It's a macro-approach considering all aspects of the forest.
Robert emphasizes that trees are not the only marketable product to be found on a timber sale. He looks at what he does as alternative or "holistic timbering," which means getting the maximum return out of a minimal area of forest on a longer range with the least impact to the existing habitat.
In order to learn more and to come as far as he has today in botany and forest technology, Robert has worked with timber management personnel, and foresters to learn and understand their approach.
Implementing the NVM techniques, Robert worked with foresters in the Klamath National Forest and the Castle Crags State Park, helping them plant indigenous seeds rather than buying seed from an out-of-area nursery. He provided them with native wildflower seeds so now they are gathering their own from mature plants of the original seed.
NVM can also be a boost to the local economy, putting people to work in the forest, collecting and planting seeds, developing and maintaining natural nurseries. The beginning and end product, and therefore, the money involved stays in the area.
People need work! And, we can put them to work just managing our forests, which is our land anyway, and then we start to become conscious caretakers. This is where our energy needs to go, not into environmental terrorism that's going on. I am NOT an environmentalist! I am a conservationist!
Robert may disagree with many current forest practices, but as far as logging is concerned he says, Logging is like this: -- a tree is like a tomato. When it gets ripe, you pick it or if you let it go eventually it will rot. And, as to old growth timber, when it is four to five hundred years old and dying -- it has to be either removed so that the understock can grow or let it die and give it to the birds and the bugs. There certainly are areas of the wilderness that need to be established and protected.
In developing harvest plans, Robert feels that local foresters and knowledgeable people need to be listened to more and definitely disagrees with environmentalists dictating what private landowners can and cannot do on their land. He believes that by broadening the scope of our way of dealing with forest lands, by making use of all the various components of the eco-system as a landscape, we learn how to use the land in a way that is more harmonious with mother nature.
We could use massive brush fields effectively just by opening up enough area to plant the trees and
marketable herbs, rather than clearing all the vegetation. Then chip the brush removed and scatter it to
act as natural mulch and fertilizer. Clear cuts, in some scenarios, is an acceptable practice -- after a burn
for instance, or due to bug infestation. But those areas should definitely be replanted with multiple species
in an uneven age management program. We have to put back the hardwoods and softwoods and all the
natural biology suited best for that area and climate.