Monday, December 15, 2008

Your Forest's Future: Regeneration Is the Next Woods!

Written by: Jim Finley, Penn State Professor of Forest Resources, December 11, 2008

Winter is great season to be afield. We'll all admit, sometimes it is difficult to give up the comfort inside for the chilly winds of winter. When you do, however, there are often some real benefits gleaned during a winter woods walk. You can learn much about a wood's condition and future by observing it when the foliage is missing. An important observation focus this time of the year is the next woods.

Looking to the future of the next woods may take a bit of effort. But when the non-woody plants are browned by the cold, it is often easier to look for the next crop of trees. When the leaves have fallen from the woody shrubs and understory trees, it is, again, sometimes easier to look for the next forest without vegetative interference.

Why should you care about the next crop of trees growing in your woods? Most of the things Pennsylvanians value about woods depend on the aesthetics, recreation, habitat, and income related to healthy, productive trees and woods. As our current forest matures and we harvest from it, it is critical we learn how to find the next forest.

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