Common Sense Forestry relates thirty years’ experience of an environmentally conscious woodland owner. Much of the book is devoted to starting a forest and how to maintain it. It answers such questions as: What seedlings to buy? Should your forest be monoculture or a mixed forest? What is the payback for planting and maintaining a forest? Is seeding a good way to start a forest? What kind of seeds work best? Does it pay to hire a consultant? What should he/she do for you? Does it pay to do much maintenance in your forest? How should I prune? Is timberland improvement worthwhile? How, when and whether to thin? How to herbicide and when? Can the damage done to nature by chemicals be justified by the benefits to your seedlings? What are the economics of woodland ownership?
The success and history of German forestry methods is discussed and suggests what can be learned from these age-old practices. It will tell you how to file your income taxes, what equipment to buy, what works—and does not work—and why. It also provides guidance on how to deal with state and federal programs.
Although intended for private woodland owners, the book is used as a classroom text in universities. The book is more practical than technical, yet still imparts knowledge of basic forestry, explaining terms such as succession and shade tolerance and how to apply these concepts in practice. Even sophisticated concepts are covered in plain, non-technical terms.
Hans Morsbach, the author, believes that forestry is an art more than a science. Competent foresters may apply different methods of managing their forests and achieve comparable results. Still, it is important to be guided by natural forest principles. Doing nothing may sometimes be a better course of action than doing too much. The book suggests ways to gauge your involvement with your woodland to time available and your personal preference. It is most important that you enjoy your forest.