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Trees... our starting point for the saga of wood. Trees give us the oxygen we breathe. Trees are the source for fine furniture. Trees are the renewable resource for framing timbers. Trees are autumn colors. Trees are the cherished memory of a Christmas past. Trees are just... well, trees!
In our country's humble beginnings, our ancestors would not have made it without trees. They provided shelter and protection from the elements and wildlife. They provided food in the form of nuts and berries. They provided comfort in many ways; from tools to furniture to just a nice view on a fall or spring day.
Speaking of those humble beginnings, one of the most romantic images one can conjure up is that of an old log cabin nestled up in the mountains. It was hard living and yet, they didn't know any better. To step into a cabin with a roaring fire on a 20 degree day was almost certainly a relief. Of course, those old structures of yesteryear bear little resemblance to a modern, convenient and efficient log home of today. And still, everything is relative... I doubt that there's much romance on a tin seat in a outhouse on a 20 degree day.
Anyway,... awareness of trees is on the rise. The American Forests Organization reports that Will Blozan, a North Carolina arborist, has discovered 30 champion trees trees throughout the southern Appalachians, with 21 of them in the Smokies. The region with the most new champions is the Southeast with 55, mostly in Georgia (15), Tennessee (11), and Florida (10).
Now, champion trees not withstanding (sorry about the pun), the ultimate intent of this page is as a link to everything wood. Dendrology to density, foliage to folklore, cambium to cutting... you get the idea. I'd like to offer as much information on any given tree as possible. However, realizing that this can't be all things to all people, I know I can't pull that off. The trick becomes providing adequate information without it becoming overwhelming to the point of boredom.
Keep in mind that they offer college degrees in this stuff, but that's way beyond the scope of this effort. I want to keep this fairly simple (mainly for myself). However, we do need to know a few words to keep us all on the same page... If you need more, try the Curious Words link to your left.
Now, having said all that, let's go play in the trees.
U.S. Department of Agriculture : Forest Service - TechSheets Database.
<http://www2.fpl.fs.fed.us/TechSheets/techmenu.html>. (11 May. 2006).
U.S. Department of Agriculture : Forest Service - Silvics.
<http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm>. (11 May. 2006).