Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Day of Service to the Forest

For the second year in a row, my organization sponsored a Day of Service on the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.  Like they did last year, the 15 volunteers who came out to work readied an area for reforestation in the spring by gathering large woody debris into a central location.
Woody debris is important in the forest ecosystem, but our degraded woodlands are under siege by invasive plants, and the branches, limbs and logs on the forest floor prevent the land stewardship staff from gaining access to new planting sites.  New plantings need to be kept clear of non-native plants - especially vines.
The former owner of this land planted non-native pachysandra; it's visible in the background as a green "blanket"
So, we've weighed our management options and have made the decision to remove the maintenance obstacles.
Besides, there's always more wood falling from the canopy as the mature trees shed limbs and topple over during storms.  The forest floor won't remain "clear" for long.


Mark P said...

It's interesting to look into the woods when the leaves are off the trees and you can see how many fallen trees there are. I guess if you're not familiar with how things work, it might come as a surprise that there are so many.

I wish I had some of that debris. It looks like there's some good firewood in there. I neglected to make sure we had enough for the winter, and I'm afraid we'll run out soon.

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

Looks like you'll have plenty of firewood for the rest of the winter! Presumably the re-afforestation will be with native species.

packrat said...

Some of those volunteers look pretty young, Scott. That's a very encouraging sign. Good on ya.


Scott said...

Mark: We bought this property about 10 years ago. The previous owner was a recluse who lived alone in a small cottage he built on the land in the 1950s. The previous owner would wander through the woods with hand clippers and cut invasive vines from the trees and shrubs, but he was an old guy who couldn't properly manage his woodland. We're just now getting around to removing the hazard trees and the invasive plants in preparation for reforestation.

Some of the collected wood would be good for firewood and we allow our members to come to cut it up and haul it away if they like. Personally, I've got a rack of seasoned oak from the Hurricane Sandy cleanup in 2012 and I should be set for the remainder of the winter.

Scott said...

John: We only plant native trees when we afforest a site in our preserve. This land has quite a few non-native spruces and firs that were planted as an allee along the long driveway, but they aren't invasive so we let them live out their lives, then replace them with natives when they die.

Scott said...

Packrat: We have a dedicated family with a boy aged 15 and a girl aged 13 who come to all of our volunteer activities; it's great to be able to count on them. I know that the boy wants to work here in the summer when he turns 16, but that's not his motivation to help.