The ideas discussed in our journey to the, center of a tree, though probably different from what you're used to, do not seem to lack logic or be particularly controversial.  This was not always the case.  The recognition now enjoyed by Alex Shigo-author of the accompanying article and the researcher who first put forth his ideas amid steadfast criticism-comes at the end of a long and winding road.  He puts his professional career in perspective by saying, "Everything I've done has had to be rejected about five times before it was accepted." 
    Today Shigo is known worldwide for his knowledge of what goes on inside trees.  His research laboratory has been anywhere
there are trees, and his lecture hall wherever people are ready to learn about his work.  His surgical knife has gone to the heartwood of thousands of trees, probing the secrets of their growth, survival, and demise.  The tool that has made his discoveries possible is the chainsaw - an unlikely instrument for a research scientist.  Like a doctor, Shigo has. explored the anatomy of his patient by dissecting and studying its parts. 
    Shigo's research stresses the practical ap
plications of science.  His desire to see his findings applied put him in the line of fire of practicing experts who would have to change their ways of doing things if his research proved accurate.  But his work has finally helped bridge the gap between science and practice, because the sawdust he has left in the woods has changed the everyday procedures of foresters, horticulturists, and tree experts in many countries. 
    Alex recently retired from the U.S. Forest Service but will continue to work with trees.  He is presently toiling on two books that will be a compilation of his tree- biology wisdom.  He wishes to thank Gary Hennen for his assistance in preparing this article for AMERICAN FORESTS.

                                                                             -GARY MOLL