on April 30, 2003
"Common Sense Forestry" may be a unique concept on the silviculture shelves. It most certainly is a welcome rarity: both an entertaining read and a mother lode of basic, practical information.
Morsbach has selected with a critical eye items of conventional forestry gospel and subjected them to empirical scrutiny. The survivors of these tests, as well as his own ideas and those gleaned from his "Mavericks of Forestry" circle are included in this common sense (no nonsense) treatise on growing trees.
He seems to have given most ideas a fair look and a field test before he bestows his imprimatur. The many illustrations are well conceived and executed and are a helpful adjunct.
Morsbach offers strong arguments on biodiversity (imperative), clearcutting (a no-no), herbicides (a last resort) and the economics of it all.
I wish I could have read it during my woodland years, but it's here now to enjoy and benefit from. Thanks, Hans.
Buffalo County, Wisconsin
on February 28, 2003
This is a very interesting and informative book. Hans tells you a life story on how he became an amateur forester from a Novice to Expert perspective.
Especially interesting were Hans' experiments with growing forests on old pasture and the frustrations of this method of "starting out". His "very expensive forest" planting method (pictured in glossy after p. 118, 6th picture in glossy section) looks wildly healthy and productive, suppressing competition through it's dense planting. He devotes three chapters to forest establishment methods: succession, planting seedlings, and direct seeding. This guy is a thinker and experimenter. Take note agroforesters and other monocultural stand enthusiasts!!!
Chapter 16 lists some of his forestry heros: Wilhelm Bode, Larry Krotz, and Dave Johnson. One of my own is Hans Morsbach. Thank God there are more foresters everyday concerned about SUSTAINABLE forestry.
His last chapter "An historical perspective" tells the sad tale told from ages past, civilization depends on it's trees for survival. Hans' techniques, learned by hard knocks, could save the world!
on February 14, 2004
I purchased 23 acres of worn out farmland that I wanted to make into a productive forest. Most of the books I found discussed things from a commerical/industrial scale, and seemed to discourage innovation and experimentation. Mr. Morsbach's book discusses the experiences of someone who has 'been and done' over the last thirty years, with notable sucesses and honest appraisal of failures & setbacks. I especially like how he shows how 'experts' can have different opinions and even be quite wrong! His ideas about mixing species and direct seeding are very interesting, and have changed my approach to planting. I would certainly advise anyone who is planning to raise trees and is interested in woodland stewardship.
on June 13, 2003
An easy and witty prose makes this book a welcome relief from other books on the subject. The extensive Index makes it easy to find subjects scattered across chapters.
A very comprehensive treatment of Direct Seeding, which is the low-cost approach to establishing a forest and very suitable to the small woodland owner.
The Economic Analysis chapter is quite useful and an eye opener.
This book will give you a second opinion on what is recommended by professional foresters and the DNR (Amazing fact: they are not always right !) Required reading for anybody that is looking into starting tree farming on a small scale.