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Kat and Kevin Yares

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Why a forest project?

When we found our place in the rural hills of Arkansas over ten years ago we were both looking for solitude from the city and a comfortable place in the woods. Neither Kat or I were newbies to the rural areas of the country as we both have had experience with tracts of acreage and creating a sustainable lifestyle before we met. This place was different though, as it was literally in the middle of the woods with trees of all sizes tight against each other and the house.

We would only take down the dead wood for our wood stove and leave the branches and such in piles to compost for the forest -  that much has not changed. What has changed is our proactive stance on now managing our piece of forest.

This practice became all to clear in the fall and spring of 2000 to 2001. That was when the red oak borer hit our part of the Ozarks. Before we knew what was happening our red oaks had leaves and branches dropping like it were autumn - and this was the middle of June.  Our Internet search began and soon to our own home came the news of the borer infestation that was occurring. All we could do was to become proactive. Pesticides were out of the question as just to the shear volume of acreage and tress involved. You see, less than a half a mile away from us is the Ozark national forest and not to mention our neighbors who could not afford a chemical bomb of their land either. So what to do? Thinning and propagation seemed to be the only answer.

Unfortunately in just two years all of our red oaks were gone. It did not seem to help following the advice of the local forest service. All we could do was cut down the dying red oaks to starve the food from the borers and get proactive on the white oaks. They too could be at risk and some of them began the signs of dropping leaves and dying branches.

This has now taken us down a path of beginning the forest project. Please follow along with us as we share our failures and successes in attempting to rejuvenate our little forest back to sustainability for the wildlife and us to share.

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