Teaching and Forestry Work
Becking was a professor of Forestry and Natural Resources at Humboldt State University from 1960-1983. As evidenced by many retirement and well wishes cards in the collection, he had a profound effect on many students that inspired them to go into forestry and natural resources professions. He also introduced many students to the concept of Plenturung for the first time, a forest management system involving careful selection of trees to be harvested from a given plot resulting in a sustainable timber harvest.
Becking with students on a backpacking trip near Redwood Creek.
Becking had a M.S. in Tropical Forestry and a B.M.S. in Temperate Forestry from Wageningen University in the Netherlands as well as a Ph.D in Forest Management from the University of Washington in Seattle. He studied all three species of redwood extensively: Sequoia sempervirens, Sequoiadendron gigantea, and Metasequoia. Some of the topics Becking pursued were burl development, vegetative propagation of redwoods, albino redwoods, international distribution of redwoods, redwood deformities and fasciations, fossil redwoods, and redwood genetics. The collection contains a large amount of material relating to all of these topics and more.
For a period of time, Becking was the discover of the tallest living Redwood in the world as well as the tallest specimens of several other species. During expeditions around Redwood Creek in 1965, Becking discovered four trees that ranked among the ten tallest coast redwoods as well as the tallest known specimens of grand fir, western hemlock, and red alder at that time.
This collection also includes data and records for the 26 total grants Becking was awarded during his academic career for mostly forestry related work. He also kept and later donated research material relating to Redwoods, sustainable forestry, plant community ecology, serpentine endemics, the Marbled Murrelet, timber cruise methodology, and many other topics. This includes a large amount of photos, newspaper clippings, handwritten notes, maps and some electronic data that has potential uses for drawing comparisons to the past in forestry work today.