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This is a short excerpt introducing and discussing the values of wooded farmland from Chapter 31 of A Practical Guide To Successful Farming, published in 1943. We are fortunate to have this book in our vintage library.

The Farm Woodland
Earl L. Scovell

“The farm woodland is that portion of the farm which either never was cleared for tillage or pasture, or was later given back to woods growth. Thus it occupies land that never was considered suitable, or later proved unsuitable, for farm enterprises.

Of prime importance to the farm owner who wishes to make the most efficient use of each acre of land, is the fact that the farm woodland occupies land of questionable value for other farm crops. It produces income from land that otherwise might be idle or farmed at a loss. It supplies a great variety of wood products: Lumber, dimension stock, heavy timbers, veneer, piling, mine timbers, and railroad ties from large trees; and fuel, pulp wood, posts, mine props, small poles, stakes, and many other products, from small trees. Of the small-tree products, many of which are removed in the ordinary cultural practices, some fill useful purposes on the farm; others add their share to the farm income when sold.

An Introduction to Farm WoodlandsWhen located on sloping ground along the margins of fields or pastures, woodland is of inestimable value in holding back and releasing slowly the water from rain and melting snow. This assures these crops not only a more even water supply, but also protection against possible damage from soil erosion. The presence of old, inactive gullies in many such woodlands gives positive proof of the erosion hazard being held in check by these tree crops. Looking at them, one can easily visualize what would happen if the trees were removed. One can imagine these gullies cutting deeper and deeper, carrying poor subsoil out onto the fields or pasture, or – worse – extending themselves into these areas. By holding and releasing slowly the water from rain and melting snow, the woodland also helps to keep springs and streams running clear and cool.

The farm woodland adds beauty and character to the farm, and comfort and protection to the farm family, livestock, and crops. One need only to live on open plains to realize the full significance of these services. Until one has had such an experience, he is apt to seriously underrate the values of his woodland.”