Learning from the Forest Sustainable Forest Management by Robert Bott Peter Murphy and Robert Ude

Don’t let the textbook feel and format scare you away from Learning From The Forest: a Fifty-Year Journey Towards Sustainable Forest Management by authors Robert Bott, Peter Murphy and Robert Udell. Within a few pages of thumbing through you can’t help but be hooked on the fascinating real life adventures and dedication of those who work to preserve the Nation’s forests.

Based on the Hinton story as a model for all, this area as far back as 1951 established the oldest Forest Management Agreement (FMA) in Alberta. Canada and via this unprecedented agreement marked the first binding commitment of its kind in any major Canadian forest establishing a unique co-operative between government and industry.

The introduction of Learning From The Forest starts out by telling us this volume should be ‘read thoroughly by forest managers, by collective owners of public forests, and by critics of forest management” but in tackling it myself I will add that it needs to be read by anyone who values trees. The knowledge gathered by the authors and then compiled into a readable informative book is urgent and necessary to continue the management and preservation of the natural resource of a forest.

The process of understanding why a forest requires a one-hundred-year time horizon and a management plan that will hold the vision consistent into the future is to say the least enlightening even to the curious pleasure reader. The extensive background and knowledge offered up to professionals in this mission of information on the writers part is more than impressive.

The authors eloquently inform the reader early on “Understanding the relatively unmanaged “state of nature” in ecosystems during the preceding centuries and millennia has become particularly important today. As more of earth’s landscape is altered by human activities, we must make sure that the inherent values – the spirit of genius – of the landscape are not lost.”

In Learning From The Forest the mystery of the evolution of a forest through the proved example of the Hinton story, takes us through the tasks of gathering knowledge, planning, harvesting, manufacturing, and growing the new forest, offering the cycle to the general reader in a format easily digested into an appreciation of all that surrounds us in this vast part of the country we are privileged to live in.

The closing sentences sum up a book that you won’t regret tackling. In Learning From The Forest author’s Bott, Murphy and Udell leave us with the closing hopeful single simplistic thought that “…..we can know the past, but cannot change it; and although we cannot know the future, we can change it.”