Have you ever thought about who decides which trees are cut down to build the house you live in, the furniture you use or the logs you burn? A forester is the one responsible for surveying a woodlot and deciding which trees to cut and which trees to leave. Unfortunately much of this industry is narrow minded in its thinking and practice and tends to degrade a forest as it takes the best trees and doesn't leave much in its wake.
Mike DeMunn is a prominent forester has managed thousands of acres of forests in New York State. Mike is of French-English and Seneca-Onondaga Iroquois heritage. Mike attended conventional forestry school and worked for the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, and the Soil and Water District. He is a person who has walked the edge between two worlds, combining understanding of forest from both perspectives, an expert in forest ecology and ancient tradition of indigenous practice. He was raised by a Seneca Clan mother and given the name Da’ Ha’ da’ nyah, meaning “he protects the forest.”
Mike is a very unique forester because of his ability to read not just the trees but the ecology, wildlife and fungal impacts of every tree that is to be removed. His mission is to always honor the forest and to improve the health of its inhabitants every time he marks trees for a timber job. I got to spend the day with Mike as he marked a forest for timber and firewood. As he pointed out which trees were sick and needed to be taken out and which trees were animal homes and needed to be left I quickly saw how he was acting more like the hand of nature healing itself then as a greedy logger looking for money.