Book Presentation: Trees of Life – Our Forests in Peril

What we do to earth we do to ourselves – What we do to our forests we do to ourselves!

Notes of the Author

My concerns are international and my book compares the wisdom our Native American culture developed about the details of nature to the values our western culture places on nature. Our indigenous people lived with nature and were required to understand the complexity and detail of their surroundings to survive. 34 years of experience with the U.S. Forest Service and after reviewing the curriculum of most forestry schools in the US, I find the focus of our science to be on what we can take from the forests rather than what is needed to keep our remaining forests healthy, vigorous and, above all else maintain or improve the diversity of the forest mosaic. I am suggesting intensive forest management that recognizes and manages the unique individual forest communities that make up our forests. I truly believe that diversity is the key to sustainability, balance and health of our remaining forests. Focusing our efforts on the needs of the remaining forested lands will provide the valuable natural resources from pour forests we have relied on for hundreds of years.

Brian E. Stout

About the Book

The book challenges the current management of our remaining forestlands and proposes a different approach to our relationship with nature and the implications for the science of forestry. It identifies the problem as a people problem resulting from the strong influence of cultural values on scientific principles. The European (Western) culture and the Native American culture are compared to identify opportunities for future changes that can lead to a more eco-friendly approach to managing our remaining valuable forested lands. Current forest science focuses on the renewable resources to be extracted from the forests rather than the requirement of maintaining health and diverse forest communities. It is a call to observe the complexity of creation by identifying the multitude of relationships that are constantly evolving within each community. The book documents the concerns with current management based on the authors personal experience during his 34 year career with one of the worlds leading public forest land managing Agencies, the US Forest Service. The book concludes with a “call to action” for all interests, if we are to prolong human existence on this planet.

The Author

I experienced the science of forestry growing up with a father that was a professional Forester. After much self- searching, in my second year of college I found my niche in the School of Forestry at the University of Minnesota. Graduating in 1960 I went to work as a forester with the Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. I was privileged to service in 15 different assignments within the Agency, at different locations throughout the United States. In 1965 I accepted a position in the Job Corps Conservation program and spent 4 years working with under-privileged boys in a work- education program. From that point on, I found working with the public interests on the forest management options to be of primary interest. Three later assignments involved working with the legislative process in Washington and the Regional levels of the Agency. I retired as Forest Supervisor of the 3 1/2 million acre, Bridger – Teton National Forest in northwestern Wyoming. Although I made a major effort to initiate change during my career, my concerns with the science of Forestry continued after retirement. I found a compelling need to express my concerns through this book.

Alexander Watson