Woodlot graphic of tree

Wood Wonders

Many farmers grow more than just grains, vegetables and livestock. Some farmers grow trees. This is called a woodlot. A woodlot is not an original forest, because the timber has been cut down before. Sometimes the trees in woodlots have been cut down four, five, or even six times! After the trees are cut down, the farmer lets them grow up again, until they are big enough to be harvested once more. Doesn't this resemble other crops the farmer has?

One farmer from Knox County, Bruce Rickard, says that woodlots are "like a savings account" because when you need some extra money, you can always cut down some trees and sell them to a timber company. Not only is the wood on woodlots good to sell to timber companies, but the timber can also be useful on the farm. The farmer can cut down the timber and use it to build fences, barns, or other buildings. Some farmers grow specialized woodlots that are used for a specific purpose. A woodlot may be used to harvest maple syrup or as a Christmas tree farm!

Meet the Cassell family! They have a woodlot on their farm!

Get together with three or four other students and create a list of advantages and disadvantages of woodlots. Think about the different benefits you can get from having a woodlot. Do your only benefits come from selling products from the woodlot or are there some benefits for the farm ecosystem as well? What are some of the costs of having a woodlot? In other words, what do you give up in order to have a woodlot?

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