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Forestry Study Guide

The forestry station will focus on forests as ecosystems in New York State. Students will be expected to have a basic understanding of forested ecosystems, how they function and change over time, their role in a watershed, and why they are valuable resources.

In general, the word forestry means the propagation and management of forest trees for commercial harvest. This include the planting and management of exotic (nonnative) species, the existing native forest, and the genetic improvement of trees for selected characteristics, such as straight and rapid growth.
Forestry also means the scientific study of tree growth, management, and timber production systems. The term forestry probably evokes visions of loggers, tree farms, and large tracts of woodlands.

National forests provide vital ecosystem services, such as habitat for wildlife and native plants, act as water reservoirs and filters, take up carbon dioxide, release oxygen, and regenerate precious soil. In addition to ecosystem services, forests also provide humans with lumber, recreation areas, and aesthetic value. Forests store large amounts of carbon dioxide that might otherwise contribute to global warming, in the form of wood.

In the eastern US, deciduous hardwood forests characterize the dominant forest types. In the western US, coniferous evergreen forests dominate. In the United States, we have several major forest biomes including temperate deciduous forests, sub-tropical mixed forest, temperate mixed forest, temperate coniferous forest and taiga.

Much of the forest area in the west still remains under public ownership, held as either national forest or Bureau of Management land. In the east, however, much of the surviving forests are under private ownership. Founded in 1905 by Gifford Pinchot, the United States Forest Service (part of the US Department of Agriculture) is the single- most important agency with reference to public forest land.

Students should be aware of and knowledgeable about the following: identification of common tree 14 species as well as tree parts and function; basic characteristics of forests and forest structure; forests as ecosystems; a general knowledge of forest history in our region; issues affecting forest health and management including invasive plants, fragmentation and urban sprawl; plant and animal communities that inhabit local forests; and silvicultural practices.

Forestry Outline

I. Tree Physiology and Tree and Shrub Identification

A. Identify parts of tree, including tissue of roots, stem, and leaves
B. by leaves, bark, flower or seed for trees listed in “Know Your Trees” without a key
C. by leaves, bark, flower or seed for uncommon trees using a key

II. Forest Ecology

A. Forest Structure
B. Ecological Concepts and terminology

1) Relationship between soil and forest type

2) Levels of succession

C. Factors influencing tree growth and forest development

1) climate, insects, microorganisms, and wildlife

D. Forest Health

1) Identify common insects and diseases

2) Identify invasive species

III. Sustainable Forest Management

A. Silvicultural Techniques (thinning, single tree or group tree selection, shelterwood, clearcutting, seed tree)
B. Silviculture Systems (clear-cutting , seed tree method, evenaged management, unevenaged management, shelterwood and selection)
C. Silviculture treatments (Planting, thinning, harvesting)
D. Forestry tools and equipment

1) Basal Area

2) Diameter

3) Height
E. Factors influencing management decisions (ecological, financial, social)

IV. Uses of Trees and Woods

A. Community Trees- their values, threats to them and challenges growing them
B. Social and Economic Value

1) Products 2) Watershed protection 3) Wildlife

Forestry Learning Objectives

For successful completion of the forestry section, contestants should be able to: