There are many web resources available for interested and dedicated land owners. We have listed a few that we find helpful in the hope that you literally will follow the thread. Please feel free to offer site suggestions that you find particularly useful.
A PDF worth downloading is at www.nrs.fs.fed.us/fmg/nfmg/docs/mn/roads.pdf. This has lots of valuable information on road construction, maintenance and impacts.
A tremendous resource for all of the issues affecting our Appalachian region is the Appalachian Voices website. There is a comprehensive forest management plan available for free called Managing Your Woodlands at the following link: www.appvoices.org/index.php?/site/forests_overview/. There is also a fabulous website echoing many of our beliefs at www.tennesseeforests.org By selecting Forest Reports on this site you can access links to a Stewardship Handbook for Family Forest Ownership and to sample Timber Sale Contracts.
Important Forestry Links for TN and NC
A great link for TN is: www.tennessee.gov/agriculture/publications/forestry/BMPs.pdf Here is a very useful reference for NC: www.drf.state.nc.us
Reducing erosion and the production of sediment is critical during any exercise where soil disturbance will occur, whether you are logging, building, landscaping etc. Although a lot of the information that is out there is directed at logging and construction, it is applicable in all land disturbing scenarios. Below are links to both NC and TN state resources for minimizing erosion. NC link: www.enr.state.nc.us/html/rules.html TN link: http://www.tn.gov/environment/wpc/sed_ero_controlhandbook/
Sustainable Forestry Organizations
There are many thoughtful organizations with a focus on sustainable forestry, in addition to the suggestions above. In Kentucky, check out http://www.maced.org. Nationally, the Dogwood Alliance has been very influential at www.dogwoodalliance.org, as has the Forest Stewardship Council at www.fscus.org. One of our best local resources for farms and farming is Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project at www.asapconnections.org. Many of these sites have comprehensive resources lists to put you in touch with other like-minded organizations. A valuable local resource is Mountains to Sea Ecological, who offer a variety of property assessment services as well as land use planning and low impact design. We have seen some of their assessment documentation and were impressed. They can be viewed at www.mtsecological.com.
Paul Hawken has long been a major inspiration to us. Read Natural Capitalism, Growing a Business, and The Ecology of Commerce. Businesses run for-profit do not automatically have to be organized to the detriment of the planet and our precious resources. Paul Hawken, a successful businessman, highlights how industries forced to take full account of all their resources, whether human or environmental, become leaner, meaner and greener, and no longer shift the debt of accountability to future generations. Learn more at: www.paulhawken.com.
Wildland / Urban Interface
This website, www.firewise.org, will give an overview of the national Firewise organization, and will allow you to find regional sites. There is a North Carolina Firewise office based out of Raleigh, and an East Tennessee branch. Firewise is committed to keeping your house and property in the low risk category for damage from fire. It will put you in touch with local Forest Service staff, and Firewise personnel. It is especially helpful to consult with Firewise before you start building your dream home or subdivision, so that fire prevention measures may be considered at the planning stage.
Local Organizations and Certifications
We hold memberships with two local land conservation groups, and would encourage anyone with an interest in preserving our local natural environment to investigate doing the same, whether it is a regional group or a nationally-based special-interest group: Foothills Land Conservancy 377 Ellis Avenue Maryville, TN 37804 Phone: (865) 681-8326 www.foothillsland.org The Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy 34 Wall Street, Suite 502 Asheville, NC 28801 Fax: (828) 253–1248 Phone: (828) 253-0095 www.appalachian.org When logistics allow, we fuel our vehicles and equipment with biodiesel. Our Asheville source for biofuels is: Blue Ridge Biofuels Asheville, NC 28801 www.blueridgebiofuels.com The WNC Green Builders Council whose main web page, at www.wncgbc.org, is a fantastic resource for learning about the green building industry and making connections to regional specialists in trades from landscaping to plumbing, roofing to alternative energy options. Just Economics operates the Living Wage Certification program, which advocates for a living wage for every worker, calculated according to each region’s specific cost of living. Visit www.justeconomicswnc.org to learn more.
When it comes to pastures and farming, Joel Salatin speaks more common-sense truth than anyone else we can think of. We can recommend his book Salad Bar Beef as a good over-view of managing and improving your grasses through intensive grazing. Learn more at: www.polyfacefarms.com. For greater depth about growing grass and cattle, Alan Nation at www.stockmangrassfarmer.net is as thorough and mind-boggling as it gets. Another technical book for restoration of pastures and farms is P.A.Yeomans “Water for Every Farm”. It is a landmark treatise in land management, soil fertility and hydrology. Check out www.keyline.com.au/.
There are a lot of sites offering advice for pond building. A very comprehensive handbook from the USDA for construction of farm ponds is a great place to start, at www.in.nrcs.usda.gov/pdf files/ponds.pdf. In addition there are many other informative sites, although be aware that some of them are trying to sell more than educate.
Our favorite sites provide a comprehensive list of non-native species with descriptions and pictures. These sites are specific to the Eastern US, www.ncwildflower.org/invasives/list.htm and www.invasive.org/eastern/srs. A massive inventory of invasive species of all classifications, with a strong educational bent and excellent identification assistance can be found at www.invasives.org/hwa/. This site will also pertain to the southern pine beetle and wooly adelgid infestations in the south in recent years. There is also uncluttered recognition and control information about the hemlock wooly adelgid at www.forestry.about.com/od/forestinsects/ss/hwa.htm.
Wildlife Habitat Preparation
There are so many resources for landowners from the various groups advocating for our wildlife. The irony of a non-profit like Ducks Unlimited being formed out of a desire to save habitat ultimately to protect the species for hunting, (mission statement: to save enough wetlands to fill the skies with wildfowl; today, tomorrow and forever) is totally eclipsed by the astonishing success that the group has had. To date, it has directly protected over 12 million acres in North America, and has had long-term influence over an additional 47 million plus acres. It’s hard to argue with those figures. For more information, go to www.ducks.org. Other special interest groups having a major impact, and offering substantial support to land owners, include Quail Unlimited at www.qu.org, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation at www.rmef.org, the American Wild Turkey Federation at www.nwtf.com, National Audabon Society at www.audubon.org, Partners in Flight at www.partnersinflight.org/description.cfm. Tennessee’s Wildlife Resources Agency also offers a really useful website at www.state.tn.us/twra/.