Too much about the Tree Farm Conference to write about, so I will hit only a few highlights.
Standards of sustainability may not permit the use of GMOs. Our standards conform to European-based standards of PEFC. Europeans often have an anti-science bias when it comes to GMOs. We should not let that prevail.
We NEED GMOs, especially GMO chestnut trees. I resolved that I would bring this up in the standards discussion, but feared I would be a lone voice crying in the wilderness. To my surprise and delight, many people in the room were in favor of GMOs in the forest. Most of us clearly know the need for GMOs and the need to fight the science-deniers. I hope this will be included in the new standards. If not, I will no longer be a certified tree farmer, since I will plant GMO chestnuts on my land as soon as I can get hold of them. If the standards tell me I cannot, I will disregard the standards. We have a higher duty to the environment. I hope it does not come to that, and I will do my best to make sure it does not.
Let me make this clear. I hate the science-denying anti-GMO idiots. Can I make this any clearer. I consider this an issue of values. I love our American forests and consider those anti-GMO folks a threat to this value. There are few things that I see as black and white. This is one.
Nothing else was so dramatic. We talked about the white oak initiative. This has affected me already. I planted 100 white oaks last week and will manage for thousands more. The coordinator of the initiative asked me about it. What was my economic plan, she asked. I have no economic plan. The oaks will take 50-60 years to mature. I do not think I will live to be 120 years old. I plant white oak because I want to plant white oaks. I will never benefit economically, but I love what it does spiritually. Man does not live by bead alone. If we do not manage for oak today, oak forests will simply not endure and I love oak forests. The same reason I support GMO chestnuts is why I plant white oaks. My first two pictures are from Baltimore. Last is age groups for oaks. We have a lot of mature oaks, but not the next generation.