Tuesday, May 25, 2010

On clear-cutting and optimism

Last year, they logged the forest across the road from us.

It was sad, and I missed the beauty of the huge old trees
that towered over our heads.

However, I had to admit that without the trees there was much more sun in our house, and I could now see out across the far hills.

I am not a fan of clear-cutting, and I don't believe that replanting with just one species of trees (a monoculture) is best for the health of the forest.

Nevertheless, it gladdens my heart to see the newly planted trees putting on fresh growth this year.

And on walks with my dog, I notice life springing back amidst the wreckage of forest slash.

Wild Iris bloom.
And Bleeding Heart carpets the old decaying stumps.

I'm a glass 3/4 full kind of person.


Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Wonderful post, Linda! It's wonderful how you found the positive in them clear cutting the forest. I love the photo of the iris. :)

middle grade ninja said...

Thanks for your refreshing burst of optomism. You've brightened my morning:)

Tahereh said...

what beautiful photos! you're lucky to live in such a gorgeous area :D

Linda Benson said...

Thanks, guys. I've been pondering that living in the country, surrounded by nature is one of the things that contributes to my optimism in life. Hmm - food for thought for another blog post.

Vonna said...

You choked me up with this one.

gowestferalwoman said...

I work in Forestry, so heres a little (ok, long!) lesson about trees :)

Aspen is a tree that has a relative short life span compared to other trees ~ anywhere from 60 to 80 years old is considered very old, and dangerous if you are under them on a windy day! They can however live longer then that (I have aged 105 year old aspen in the Black Hills of South Dakota, but it was on its last legs and had very poor form - dont stand under it! yikes!).

Think of forestry as gardening; instead of plants its on a larger scale, with trees :)!

With Aspen, clearcutting is mandatory in order to regenerate it well. Think of it as in cutting grass - Clearcutting produces much healthier trees in less amount of time as it grows from the roots of its "momma and poppa trees" (thats not a forestry term btw lol) kind of like the same way the grass in your lawn comes back thicker each time you cut.

Most people think the term clearcutting is bad - No, it is a proper forestry practice as its what works best for that particular tree - birch do well with clearcuts too, or sometimes you want to generate other species like White Oak here in Wisconsin, then you'll do "shelterwood cuts" to expose ground for the lil' baby oak seeds to take root. White Oak esp. needs the best circumstances to grow, and needs optimum sunshine to take root, so we take particular care in Wisconsin for White Oak...

The term that most people confuse with clearcutting is "hy-grading" - this is where all the good trees are taken, and bad trees are left behind, BAD BAD FORESTRY!!! There is never an excuse for this - If someone hy-grades, then they should be taken out and whipped soundly...or put in jail :) or... well, you get the picture!

For this site, in 3 to 5 years time, there will be a very very thick dense of young saplings, and I would love to see pictures! It will bring you TONS and tons of wildlife too, as the young tree buds will provide food and shelter. Most wildlife managers love clearcuts; the top branch piles (called "slash" that is a professional term lol) left behind after a cut feed & shelter wildlife, and the growing saplings will do the same thing.

You have a tree garden, enjoy watching it grow :)! Remember, we tend to think of and compare only our life span in years; for trees, its always loooong term. We have worked with clients who have known us for over 30 years; its fun to go visit their tree plantings from 30 years ago and see towering pines :)...and these special clients are still planning for after they are long gone, for their children's children... :)

Thank you for posting, and reading!