Old Growth - 2

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Most of the foresters that walk thru our property have a similar synopsis ...

" ... overmature and needs to have 25-40% removed so what's left can thrive..."

But I look at the complexity of what's growing -- the trees and all the other fauna -- and it strikes me that this only happens when you give it time for undisturbed growth.

How long?  A 1931 aerial photo of our property shows very dense tree cover in the area we now have most of our biggest trees.  So we're talking 125-150 years old?  Older?? (yeah I know a core sample could tell us but I don't like the idea of drilling holes halfway thru my girls)

There are other approaches to 'manage' older forests and the one that resonates with me is from the University of Massachusetts called Restoring Old Growth Characteristics.  They define "Old Growth" as:

  • diversity of tree ages and sizes including >30 inch diameter (94 inch circumference) --> check
  • snags - large standing dead trees --> check
  • large downed logs --> in spades
  • gaps in the canopy --> yup

 Their prescription?  Leave it alone.

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