"Tree Keepers: Where Sustaining the Forest Is a Tribal Tradition"

"The Menominee tribe of Wisconsin has sustainably harvested its woods for nearly 170 years, providing a model for foresters worldwide. Amid climate change and other threats to the forest, the tribe continues to follow a traditional code: Let the healthy trees keep growing."

"Mike Lohrengel looks up in awe at trees he has known for 30 years. “This is one of the most beautiful places I know. This forest has it all: the most species, the most diversity. Many trees I know individually. Look at this one behind us. It’s got a split way up there. I’ll never forget that tree till I die.”

It is a love affair, for sure. But Lohrengel is no tree-hugger, out to preserve a special, pristine place. He is a timber harvest administrator, overseeing logging in one of the most remarkable working forests in the United States — nearly a quarter-million acres of trees that occupy almost the entire Menominee Indian Reservation in northern Wisconsin.

“The forest looks pristine,” he says, as a flurry of snow falls through the open canopy. “These big maples and basswoods are around 150 years old. But we have been logging here for over a century, and we still have more trees than when we started.” In June, the tribe’s forestry officials began exploring the potential for selling the carbon accumulating in the forest on the U.S.’s growing market for carbon-offset credits. "

Fred Pearce reports for Yale Environment 360 July 24, 2023.

Source: YaleE360, 07/26/2023