Jim Donovan presents the library book to Ethan Tapper that will donated to a local library in his name.
Ethan Tapper shares details of the loss of various wildlife during the exploitation of Vermont's forests in the 1800's.  
Jim Donovan introduced Ethan Tapper as our county’s Forester who is responsible for landowner assistance, he meets with communities and citizens and has been expanding his role as Chittenden County Forester. 
Ethan began by telling us Vermont is 75% forested of which 80% is privately owned. 
The function of the forest service is fourfold:
  1. Help private landowners manage their land. 
  2. “Current Use” program - 25+ acres owned, landowner can enroll and receive tax benefits at 80/90%.  The landowner has to have a forest plan and has to follow it, nor can they subdivide without penalty. 
  3. Manage town forests.
  4. Improve the quality of our forests.  This is the best role of the position, according to Ethan.
What is a forest?  “An interacting assemblage of organisms, their physical environment and the natural process that affect them.”  They are dynamic and complex, biodiverse, with various organisms.  Forests are not functional without this biodiversity.
What does a healthy forest look like?  Forests are dynamic and do not appear as we think they ought to.  Healthy forests are messy!  They ought to be disturbed as well as stable. 
Ethan recommended the book The Hidden Forest” by Jon R. Luoma.  The book explains and describes in great detail, a healthy forest.
Beginning in the 1800’s, Vermont was decimated by the Merino Sheep phenomenon, reducing our forests to 20%, as well as timber exploitation: heat, fences, houses, maple sugaring.  In turn, this had a profound effect on wildlife, i.e., beavers, fisher cats, catamounts, and white-tailed deer, to name a few.
This time period has made our forests “young” and therefore, lacking the diversity of thousand-year-old forests and their growth.
Biodiversity threats: deforestation, invasive plants, animals, pets and pathogens, deer over population, development and climate change.  The number one threat is the white-tailed deer! 
Global change is part of the picture as well, for example, global pollution.
How do I love a forest?  This can be removing trees, making a young forest more like an old forest.  Manage forests like they manage themselves by restoring old forest characteristics.  This will take about two hundred more years.
There is hope however!  We have to rediscover the forest’s capacity for life.
Ethan is retiring at the end of May to start his own forestry business and to promote his book “How to love a Forest.”   
Williams Woods in Charlotte is the only old forest in this area.
Jim Donovan presented the book, “The Nature of Oaks” by Douglas W. Tallamy to be donated to The Shelburne Library.