Jo Pierce owns a private forest in rural Maine. He calls his land a “tree farm.” When you’re working with trees, he says, you have to think on the timescale of a tree.
Jo Pierce: When I look at managing my woods and draw up a management plan, I’m thinking of the money I can make and maximizing that over the long, long term – and by long term I mean 100 years.
Management decisions affect the whole system of the forest.
Jo Pierce: Is the pine on land I should really have oak on for efficient growing? But then, if I change it, how about the animals that are there?
According to Pierce, high land taxes and development pressures are the biggest threats to sustaining a private forest.
Jo Pierce: There’s property tax and there’s estate tax. And those are the biggest challenges to sustainable forestry that I can see. If I can’t pay the bill, or my children can’t pay the bill, it’s cut off all the trees, or sell the land and get some money to pay the tax. And then you’ve got houses where there were trees.
Pierce spoke of his family’s deep connection to the forest.
Jo Pierce: It is a business, but it’s something that’s in our hearts. It’s not just in our pocketbook.
Our thanks today to the American Forest Foundation, leading the way in conservation and education.
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Photo Credit: Sam Blackman (Some rights reserved.)
Learning to love science. As a producer for EarthSky, Lindsay Patterson interviews some of the world's most fascinating scientists. Through EarthSky, her work content is syndicated on some of the world's top media websites, including USAToday.com and Reuters.com. Patterson is also charged with helping to stay in steady communication with the thousands of scientists who contribute to EarthSky's work of making the voice of science heard in a noisy world. She graduated from Colorado College with a degree in creative writing, and a keen interest in all forms of journalism and media.