Timber’s Term of the Week: Forest




  1. Land spanning more than 0.5 hectares (just over an acre – ed.) with trees higher than 5 meters (just over 16 feet – ed.) and a canopy cover of more than 10 percent, or trees able to reach these thresholds in situ. It does not include land that is predominantly under agricultural or urban land use. Forests are determined both by the presence of trees and the absence of other predominant land uses. The trees should be able to reach a minimum height of 5 meters in situ. Areas under reforestation which have yet to reach a crown density of 10 percent or tree height of 5 m are included, as are temporarily unstocked areas, resulting from human intervention or natural causes, that are expected to regenerate. (Source: the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO))
  2. A group selection site on  Boggs Mountain State Forest
  3. Land at least 10 percent stocked by forest trees of any size, including land that formerly had such tree cover and that will be naturally or artificially regenerated. (Source Brad Smith, et. al.)


  1. forestland, timberland, woodland


Other sources say a forest is a tract of land covered with trees; these are not technical definitions. Using such definitions gives the impression that the practice clearcutting results in deforestation. I’ve written before about deforestation (Deforestation and Reforestation, What is Deforestation?, and Toilet Paper, Hummers, and Global Warming, oh my!) Logging does not equal deforestation. The FAO defines deforestation as “the conversion of forest to another land use or the long-term reduction of tree canopy cover below the 10% threshold … Deforestation implies the long-term or permanent loss of forest cover. Such a loss can only be caused and maintained through a continued man-induced or natural perturbation.” (World Forest Resource Assessment in 2000, On Definitions Of Forest And Forest Change)

This is deforestation; the conversion to another land use.

This is deforestation; the conversion to another land use.


Forest comes from Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin forestis.

Post to Twitter

Timber’s Term of the Week: Busheler



A pieceworker paid at a rate per thousand board feet.

Now a bushel is an outmoded unit of grain equal to four pecks or thirty-two dry quarts. It’s measured in a cylindrical vessel, eighteen and a half inches in diameter, and eight inches deep. According to one source the term bushel dates back to the early fourteenth century when King Edward I defined the bushel as eight gallons. The American colonies formally adopted the measure in 1696.

How bushel came into English is not certain. Charles Hodson, author of Global Wording, says at Podictionary that bushel came to England with William the Conqueror in the eleventh century. Since William came from Normandy he spoke French. According to one source I checked the old French word for bushel is boissel, which then would link it back to Latin. I’m not able to know for sure but I think that it means “box” since the Latin word for the box wood tree is buxus. The term buxom also comes from Latin word an article made from the box wood tree, buxum; “She’s built like a wooden box” just doesn’t do it for me.

English being the word scavenger that it is, has another meaning for bushel as a verb. Merriam-Webster’s on the web says the etymology of busheler is “probably from German bosseln to do odd jobs, poor work, to patch; akin to Old English beatan “to beat.” This goes well with another definition of busheler (or “Bushelman”) as a tailor’s assistant for repairing garments.

Bushelers at work:

Post to Twitter

Timber’s Term of the Week: Section 37

    Section 37


  1. Where all good bushelers go when they go beyond the vale.  A logger’s paradise where every tree is straight, tall, without flaws, and eight feet in diameter. And no underbrush, scalers, or inkslingers can be found: John’s gone to Section 37 and won’t be coming back.
  2. A mythical place.
  3. Something not supposed to exist: Let’s just say I found this in Section 37 and leave it at that, okay?

Why Section 37?
Pretty much all the arable land not within the original thirteen colonies is supposed to have been placed into a grid known as the Public Land Survey System. Its basic units of area are the township. Each township is supposed to have thirty-six sections.


If people were perfect and honest the sections could have looked like this.

Within a 6-mile by 6-mile township, the upper right section is Section 1 the section west of number is Section 2 (see image). The numbering moves left to all the way Section 6, the section south of Section 6 is section 7 and the number and progresses in a serpentine manner all the way to Section 36. There should be no Section 37.

There shouldn’t be any Sections numbered 37. However, anything people devise can be screwed up. Below is a map showing the sections of the Milk Ranch on Case Mountain in Tulare County, California. Not many perfect squares in the bunch.

Sections 37 do exist.

Sections 37 do exist. Click on the map to expand it and look northeast of Hammond.

Post to Twitter