connecting family values to sustainable forestry
Kimberly Edwards lives on 60 acres of forested land in Rockcastle County. Her husband is an avid hunter. Her son loves peeking under rocks for snails and salamanders.
Shortly after they bought the land in 2003, they were approached by a logger. "We knew then that we didn’t want to get in to any big time logging" explains Edwards. They sent the logger away, but were unsure about what to do next. "We wanted to know the best way to use the land without depleting it. We wanted to be better caretakers of the land. That’s when we ordered the Kentucky Forest Landowner’s Handbook".
Three natural springs originate on the Edwards’ land, forming streams that support an abundance of aquatic life, and an ideal place for their son to go exploring. After reading about riparian buffer zones in the handbook, the Edwards realized the importance of protecting these areas. "We have goats, which we knew to keep fenced out of the forest, but we were letting them roam in the riparian areas, around the springs. They were eating up the vegetation in those areas. Once we learned about how important it is to protect these areas, to keep the trees and shrubs for erosion control and shade, we fenced the goats out. We noticed that this year, even with the drought, our streams did not dry up."
The Edwards want to maintain their land as a long term natural asset. They are also one of 270,000 landowners in Kentucky without a forest management plan. “We did not know where to begin. The handbook helped us understand the benefits of forest management. We have contacted the Division of Forestry to help us put the plan together. Without the handbook, we had no idea who to talk to.” The Edwards are now working with a forester to create a management plan that reflects their values and respects the land. "We will continue to use the handbook to help us make good decisions about our forestland."