Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Forest Closed Canopy

Today I was reading a forestry article that tied in with the reason our trees were rotten and had to come down. (Yes, I'm still grieving over that.)  The article, "Cascading species shift looms in fire-starved Eastern woods", by Paul Voosen, is at  It talks about the tremendous loss of oak trees east of the Mississippi River and the tie-in with not allowing fires to take their natural course (and not allowing controlled fires) to keep the forest floor clear enough for the acorns to sprout.  The trees have grown so densely that there is a "closed canopy" and sunlight cannot get in to keep out disease and to help the seeds and seedlings grow.  Some acorns have sat for years and years without the right conditions for them to sprout and thrive.  Here's one section that I found particularly disturbing:
Beneath aged oak and pine boughs is a dense mix of maple, ash and cedar. Starved of light, grasses no longer sprout. The butterflies have left, and so have the woodpeckers. Most of the forest floor is lifeless, smothered by layers of leafy duff. .... The next oak forest is not under the oak forest of the eastern United States now,
I remember that the forestry guy said that our trees had not gotten enough sunlight down onto the ground level to keep the fungus away, therefore the rotten wood.  Anyway, it's an interesting article and a "good read".  I would really recommend it.

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