This year the Western Mensurationists meeting brought in Bertram (Bert) Husch, the principle author of "Husch, Miller and Beers" the well known forest measurements book. The meeting, near Mt. Hood had a higher than usual percentage of people from outside the Pacific Northwest.
Bert Husch is well known for his book, of course, as well as his forest inventory work in the FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization) of the United Nations. For many years, since retiring from FAO, he has lived and worked as a consultant in Santiago, Chili.
Many of us are familiar with the technical work of Bert and his co-authors, but some of the personal insights were even more interesting. Bert seemed to be everywhere during W.W.II. He cleared the beaches with the combat engineers before the troops landed on D-Day, was at the bridge at Remagen when German jets were seen for the first time, worked in Nuremberg during the trials and helped to liberate one of the concentration camps.
He seems to have visited every emerging country you could name, and arranged to pick up a black belt in judo in Japan in the process. He managed to keep up with the younger technical specialists, and participated actively in this delightful meeting. Many of us who had studied his book during our university years were fascinated to meet him, and many had their books signed by Bert and his co-author Tom Beers.
Tom, who was so active in testing, explaining and promoting Variable Plot Sampling on the East Coast of North America gave us several insights into how he came to co-author the book. It surprised us all that this was only about the third time that he had personally met with Bert. Most of their work was done separately, then assembled later.
Tom also mentioned that the reason the earlier Husch book did not "flow" as naturally as one might expect was that the book had to be rewritten very quickly after it was stolen from Berts parked car. In the days before word processors, such a loss was absolute, and had to be completely recreated.
Bert remains active in the profession, and has now written a new book (only in Spanish) about the larger issues of resource use and society. David Marshall, who had the foresight and energy to bring Bert and Tom to the meeting did us all a great favor. If you missed it you made a mistake.
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