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A Nation Divided Cannot…..

Posted by on Dec 9, 2016 in Blog |

Talk of “divides” is all around us.  Red/Blue, Urban/Rural, Rich/Poor, White/Brown….. Of course it’s not new, but it seems to be more acute than at any other time in my brief sixty years.  There seems to be agreement that is a problem deserving of our attention, which leads to the good question of “how”? The Hyla Woods team thinks and cares about this issue and question.  One answer that we’ve focused on seems simple and manageable – reach across a divide and find some reason to work together.   It’s not rocket science – (or far more complex, ecosystem science) – but many drops of water do turn the mill.  Here are examples of what we’ve done and learned by doing this. We’ve identified products that grow in our forests that urban people need and we have provided them.   Many years ago, thanks to a “block party” organized by our friends at Ecotrust, we met and visited with Christine and Robert.   They’re both retired from interesting lives as members of religious orders, live in SE Portland and – most importantly – want a load of firewood each fall.  They don’t want just any wood; they want wood from what feel is a well cared for forest.   In addition to the “cord in the Ford” making the drop off each fall, we connect with them in other ways.   They enjoy honoring the salmon that return to the forest each year and are always asking for updates on the ups and downs of life in the forests.  With each passing year and interaction, we come to know one another – and the realities we live in – better.    Preparing to “pump some oak”! We know that our main logging contractor (logger!) holds strong political opinions that are very different from our own.  The day after the election I (peter) sent Brandon an invitation asking whether he would like to get together for a conversation over a greasy breakfast.  Our getting together started with him smiling and declaring “I like food” and ended with us each understanding one another better and agreeing that the things we share in common and agree...

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Tipping Point – From Concept to Scary Reality

Posted by on Dec 9, 2016 in Blog |

Do you remember encountering, at some point in your school, a lesson in tipping points?  Phenomena the may change at a slow, regular and predictable point but then cross a threshold, or tipping point, when they can change dramatically and rapidly?  I do.  Images of the concept stick with me; I think of it as I read news of melting ice in the polar regions or the prospect of the Gulf Stream radically shifting.   Those of us owned by forests think about these things in the early morning hours.   Over the past two year’s the concept has been brought home, literally, and made real as we watch the impacts of recent drought on portions of our forests.   In our areas of mid aged Douglas fir, we are accustomed to watching some trees vibrantly thrive while others sputter along with less vigor.  We know that these differences may be caused by many things – soils, available moisture, seed source……. But until recently, experience always taught us that change in the condition of the underdog trees would be gradual and predictable.  Now that has changed.   A tipping point threshold was crossed and in several parts of the forests we have significant areas where, in the period of one or two years, 20 to 60 year old trees have begun dying – not gradually, but in the course of one or two years.  As the theory has been brought home in the shape of brown and falling needles, curling, dry bark and falling trees we now must answer the question of “now what?”  While we assume that many factors may work together to create the problem, it seems probably that drought pushed these trees across the tipping point threshold.   Is the drought a consequence of human caused climate change?  Will we ever know for certain?   Regardless, these dead trees in their even aged, monoculture plantations reminded us of something we already knew – that a forest that is diverse in age and species is better suited to a changing world than one that is less diverse.   Applying this lesson in tipping points, on all scales seems important.  Right Donald?!   A...

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