Managing Our Greatest Resource with Ara Chackerian: The Role of Forestry in Wilderness Management

The ancient Hebrews used three different words when describing wilderness areas, recognizing that having just one word would never capture all the diversity experienced in nature. For forestry visionaries like Ara Chackerian, wilderness areas play an important, albeit complex, role in societal fabric, providing an abundance of resources as well as amazing venues for recreation, inspiration, and athletic pursuits. In his forestry work, Ara Chackerian has provided clients, partners, and nature enthusiasts with the tools and techniques needed to preserve wilderness areas while also affirming appropriate opportunities to harvest resources from nature’s pantry. Indeed, our planet’s wilderness areas are among the most precious resources we have; thus, keen stewardship of these resources is a must. Luckily, a dedicated cadre of forestry professionals continues to assist both public and private entities in wilderness management. Careful curation of trees, wildlife populations, and the like benefit everyone, providing us with opportunities to pass on our greatest resources to the generations who will follow us.


When it comes to wilderness management, careful forestry techniques help preserve diverse wildlife populations and protect the wilderness from decline and natural threats like drought, fires, and intense storms. Forestry experts like Ara Chackerian recognize that no two wilderness areas are alike, requiring precise planning and intricate resource management. In Michigan, for example, unique wilderness areas require “made to order” forestry plans that account for the area’s wildlife population as well as commercial and recreational usage.


“A park-like forest populated with older trees that are spread far apart may be perfect for people to hike, camp and bird-watch, but it’s not necessarily ideal for wildlife,” asserts Matt Pedigo, who serves as the chair of the Michigan Wildlife Council.[1] “Many types of animals prefer younger, denser woods for the cover and food resources they provide. It takes effective management to make sure there are a variety of forest types that can be enjoyed by humans and also make good homes for wildlife.”[2]


Indeed, Ara Chackerian also affirms the necessity of public dialogue and information-sharing in the work of forestry and wildlife management, as an informed public is better equipped to help the cause of conservation. In states like Michigan, the sale of hunting licenses, permits, and the like underwrite the important work of keeping the public informed.


One of the unforeseen successes of excellent forestry policy has been revenue generation. With modern advances in logging, as well as improvements in wood and paper manufacturing processes, targeted forestry projects benefit wildlife while generating the funds to keep advancing the cause of conservation. In the past, forest fires were the chief catalysts of “thinning the forest.” Today, Ara Chackerian and other forestry experts can use scientific methods and a cache of excellent tools to manage wildlife areas in ways that minimize disease and encourage the proliferation of wildlife, while also generating adequate revenue to keep the momentum going. Again, conservation efforts in Michigan serve as a model for congruent states, agencies, organizations, and private firms.


“When we cut trees, there’s always a plan to bring the forest back,” asserts Debbie Begalle who serves as the chief of the Michigan DNR’s Forest Resources Division.[3]  Citing Michigan’s “Kirtland Warbler” as an example of bird population positively impacted by targeted management, Begalle affirms that forestry matters. “With the Kirtland’s warbler, we plant new jack pine trees close together to give them the habitat they prefer. We can simulate the effects of a forest fire by conducting responsible timber cutting, which has all kinds of other benefits as well.”[4] So, it seems that the peripheral benefits of forestry have a positive impact throughout Michigan. “Forest management keep our trees healthy, which in turn helps purify the air and waterways. It also provides about $21 million to Michigan’s economy every year through the timber and paper industries.”[5]


One of the most interesting management approaches celebrated and deployed by Ara Chackerian and others center on forestry rotation. Katie Keen of Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources is a proponent of the timber rotation approach in her work in Michigan’s wilderness areas.


“As managers, we can set a forest’s age wherever we want,” Keen reports. “We can make sure that there’s always a steady supply of young jack pine for the warblers. We can create brush piles where rabbits can live and deer and elk can forage. And we can leave felled trees where they lie to make homes for ground squirrels, toads, and salamanders. Forestry was developed to be beneficial to the whole forest. It’s incredible to witness life return to places where things weren’t looking so bright just a few years ago.”[6]


While forestry is by no means the only expertise in Ara Chackerian’s diverse portfolio of interests, it is one of his true passions. Along with other forestry professionals from across the continents, Ara Chackerian continues to harvest revenue from forests while doing the far more important task of preserving wilderness resources for sustainable purposes. Science, excellent tools, and dedicated foresters are undoubtedly set to deepen our collective commitment to wilderness management.

[1] Extracted from:

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.



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