It is easy to see that Gaines has learned the lessons that uncontrolled hubris will teach, and approaches his task with humility. This is one of the primary tenets of forest restoration, and reforestation (planting) shouldn't be that much difference. In my case, I haven't had my own property to apply forestry to. And my tree planting experience is primarily that of serving the public, providing stewardship of the land. In an era when monocultural plantings were standard, and spacing variable but always there, and for the most part, the 'rows' resulted from that.
But that was then, this is now. We now know the value of 'bio-diversity' and encouraging biodiversity at the reforestation level is not only appropriate, but compelling. Do we know enough to do it 100% right, the first time? Only a few of us probably. Doesn't matter. What does matter is the specifics of the sites being reforested.
For context, I'll suggest a five hundred mile swath of the west side of the Sierra Nevada range in central/eastern California. From 5000 to 7000 feet in elevation (approx.) one will find a layer of classic mixed conifer forest community (ponderosa pine, sugar pine, jeffrey pine, doug fir, cedar, white fir) that mixes in a more or less random fashion (with respects paid to variations in topography, aspect, elevation, soil type, etc.). I suggest (and have seen mixed plantings in this forest type) that to not plant multi-culturally is folly. That thousands of years of relatively undisturbed forests are demonstrating the species that are likely to succeed.
Yes, yes, yes, there are so many factors to consider (fire adaptation, fire regimes, climate change, etc.) but I suggest that it is exactly these many factors that mitigates for a multi-cultural, bio-diverse oriented planting.
In the west, it's time that the Forest Service went back to being a service, not as in the past to lobbyists and congressional interests, but to the public, and as the steward they should have been all along.
Uhmmm, all for now...
Don Bertolette - President/Moderator, WNTS BBS
Restoration Forester (Retired)
Grand Canyon National ParkBJCP Apprentice Beer Judge
View my Alaska Big Tree List Webpage at:http://www.akbigtreelist.org