Thursday, July 24, 2014

Forest Health Complexities showcased through TNC Woodbourne Preserve

The Nature Conservancy is showcasing the state's forest health issues through a number of very well written articles based on one of their properties located in Susquehanna County, North Central Pennsylvania, called the Woodbourne Preserve.  The preserve is dealing with emerald ash borer, hemlock wooly adelgid, high deer impacts and a number of other issues including wetlands, and beavers cutting old growth.

The five part series is based on the fact that the forest changes.  The articles pose the question.......How will we respond?  How can we address these new and conflicting issues, sometimes with devastating consequences, and protect the forest for future generations?  We want future generations to be able to experience the forest in the same way that we did.  We need the forest for so many things, wood, clean water, wildlife habitat, places to recreate.  In the face of forest change, what will the forests of the future hold?  What will they look like?  What species will they contain?

In the Nature Conservancies Cool Green Science blog they explore these questions in a 5 part series.  I have provided links below to the first four.  They are worth a read.  Matt Miller is an excellent writer and has experienced the forests of Pennsylvania first hand.

1. Change Comes to the Eastern Forest
Change is coming to the eastern forest. The decisions made now could have long-lasting implications for the forests we know in the future. How will conservationists respond? What does it mean to manage a “pristine” forest? What complexities do land managers face as they try to maintain a healthy forest in the face of new ecological threats – and differing human values that at times conflict with the science? I’ll be exploring these questions this week in a five-part blog series on the issues faced by one seemingly pristine forest preserve in north-central Pennsylvania, a microcosm of the complexities faced in forests in the eastern United States.............

2. Notes from the Deer Wars: Science & Values in the Eastern Forest
One of the biggest threats to the eastern forest also happens to be one of its most charismatic creatures: the white-tailed deer. Recently, a group of Conservancy scientists and land managers called over-abundant deer a bigger threat to forests than climate change. The white-tailed deer is arguably the most studied wild animal in the world, but this is more than a science issue. You cannot talk about deer without addressing competing human passions, values and traditions. This is true anywhere the white-tailed deer roams in the United States. It is especially true in Pennsylvania, a place where opinions on deer management have probably ignited more bar fights than politics or religion............

3. Can Integrated Pest Management Save the Eastern Hemlock?
Drive along some of the most scenic routes in the eastern United States — Skyline Drive, Shenandoah National Park, the Smoky Mountains – and you’ll see the ghosts of forests past. Hemlock groves, once some of the most beautiful forests in the country, stand dead and dying. They’re the victim of a tiny, invasive pest that’s raging through trees. The rapid loss of trees can leave the most optimistic conservationist feeling hopeless. And indeed, there is not enough time or money to save all the hemlocks. By mapping hemlocks, identifying trees that are most vital ecologically and using a variety of pest management techniques, forest conservationists are finding that they can ensure that hemlocks remain a part of the eastern forest.............

4.  Logging Ash to Save Hemlocks
This might seem a tough thing for a forest conservationist to admit: there are times when an invasive forest pest can’t be stopped. There are times when you know it’s coming, and you can’t do anything about it. It will arrive in the forest, and trees will die. They will die en masse. It might seem a hopeless situation, to watch helplessly while the trees you’re trying to protect are dying. But what if you could sell those trees for lumber before the pest arrived, and use the proceeds to save other trees?................

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