Archive | native plants

What defines old growth in New Hampshire?

Friends of Mount Sunapee photo: In Mount Sunapee State Park, where an exemplary natural community system encompasses a rare old forest.

Old trees, large trees, structural diversity, snags, coarse woody debris, pit and mound topography, nurse logs, canopy gaps, broken-topped trees, mosses, lichens, and lack of human disturbance—these are characteristics of an old-growth forest in the Granite State. See “Finding Old-Growth Forests in New Hampshire,” an article by David Govatski, published by the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension.

https://extension.unh.edu/blog/finding-old-growth-forests-new-hampshire

As a forester and naturalist, I have had a life-long interest in forests. I have been fortunate to have been able to visit many old-growth forests throughout the United States. I have long recognized the need to preserve these old forests for many reasons. The scientific value of old-growth forests is well known, and several research forests have been created to study the dynamics of these original forests. There are many other reasons to protect old-growth forests, including preserving spiritual, cultural, historical, and biological values.

… People sometimes expect walking in an old-growth forest is like walking in a cathedral of big and tall trees. Sometimes it can feel that way, especially in some of our hemlock and white pine forests. But more often, you will find a chaotic scene of downed trees, areas of thick undergrowth, and trees of varying sizes. Walking off-trail can be difficult. Once a person learns to value old-growth forests, he or she will appreciate the aesthetics of the forest’s complexity. – David Govatski,  Finding Old-Growth Forests in New Hampshire (via UNH-UC)

When it comes to the protection of old forests, Govatski feels we should aim for 10% of our forest land being old growth.

“In addition to identifying opportunities to protect existing or future old-growth on private land, we should encourage local, state, and federal agencies to identify, designate, and protect such forests on public lands,” wrote Govatski. “Ideally, we should have at least one old-growth forest designated in each of our ten counties.”

For information about the old forest on Mount Sunapee, see Natural Heritage and Ancient Forests (FOMS).

Voices & Views

Resistance Radio talks old forest ecology and protection

Resistance Radio recently aired an interview with Joan Maloof, an old-growth advocate. During the discussion, Maloof relates personal stories as she teaches about forest ecology, the importance of preserving old forests, and the work of the Old-Growth Forest Network. We share that interview here. And to learn about the rare old forest in Mount Sunapee State Park, see the links below.

“Joan Maloof, Professor Emeritus of biology and environmental studies at Salisbury University, founded the Old-Growth Forest Network to preserve, protect and promote the country’s few remaining stands of old-growth forest. She spends her time lecturing, writing, visiting forests, assisting private landowners, and supporting local groups trying to protect community forests from development. She is the author of four books about trees and forests.” – Resistance Radio, May 24, 2020

Related links

Voices & Views

‘Time for a climb’ from New Hampshire Garden Solutions

Is it time for a climb and new discoveries? The delicate spring beauty (Claytonia caroliniana) welcomes forest hikers in New Hampshire, April through June. Friends of Mount Sunapee photo.

It’s Time For a Climb: New Hampshire Garden Solutions takes you along on a recent outing on Pitcher Mountain in Stoddard, N.H., and the discoveries made by taking the same trails again and again.

John Burroughs said “To find new things, take the path you took yesterday” and of course he was right. I thought of him last year when I found spring beauties I had been walking by for years and then I thought of him again on this day, when I found sessile leaved bellwort growing right beside the trail I’ve hiked so many times. I’m always amazed by how much I miss, and that’s why I walk the same trails again and again. It’s the only way to truly know a place.

See New Hampshire Garden Solutions, Exploring Nature in New Hampshire.

Voices & Views

The Hobblebush

When heading out for a springtime hike or forest walk, be sure to look for the showy flowers of the hobblebush (Viburnum lantanoides). The hobblebush is a shade loving deciduous shrub with sprawling branches, which will root if they touch the ground. The photo above, taken while hiking at Mount Sunapee State Park, shows the flat-topped clusters of white flowers of the hobblebush.

Voices & Views shares The Nature of Phenology, Episode 123, Hobblebush

Large clusters of hobblebush flowers can be found now. Not only do hobblebush flowers trick pollinators into landing on them, but the plants really do trip walking animals and careless hikers more than your average shrub—hence the name hobblebush.

And via Northernwoodlands.org, enjoy The Humble (yet Devilish) Hobblebush and Hobblebush, Viburnum lantanoides 

Online references

Voices & Views

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