Thursday, March 21, 2013

Pennsylvania's Forests in Need of Regeneration

Received and e-mail today from Cornell Cooperative Extension concerning an initiative in New York entitled "Restore New York Woodlands."  The initiative is in recognition of the New York Forest Owners 50th anniversary celebration.  The initiative will include editorials, public woods walks, and lobbying at a forestry awareness event at the state capital.

I found the article quite interesting and wanted to share it with my readers.  Along with the article is a nice 4 minute radio spot you can listen to as well.  Unfortunately, we are dealing with the same issues here in PA.  The last forest inventory and analysis data that I have from the US Forest Service indicates that regeneration (new trees froms seedlings and sprouts) is lacking across much of Pennsylvania. 

Here are the numbers for Pennsylvania.
When looking at only desirable species of trees only 40% of the sample plots met the regeneration criteria.  If we add in all woody species it is not much better at 54%.  To say this another way, almost 2/3 would likely fail to regenerate to desirabel tree species and about half would likely fail to regenerate when looking at all woody species.

This is a very serious issue in Pennsylvania and speaks to the sustainability of our forest resource on all levels.  Forests must be able to regrow with desirable species following tree mortality from natural disturbances and timber harvests or they are not sustainable.

Below is the article from Cornell.  It was published on WRVO Public Media and written by Sidsel Overgaard.  Let me know what you think or if you have had similar experiences.

New York's forests in need of healthier regeneration

Imagine a New York autumn with almost no red or orange -- just brown, brown, brown. Experts say that could be the scene 50 years from now if people don’t start paying more attention to what’s going on with the shrubs, bushes and saplings in the forest. 

Sarah Stackhouse and her husband Charles live in the forested hillsides of Yates County. It’s beautiful up here among the trees, and to an untrained eye, the forest looks perfectly healthy -- an ideal place to look for wildlife. It doesn’t take long before Stackhouse stops and points.

"There’re several deer out in the field here," she said.  Charles Stackhouse says 100 years ago, this encounter would have been just short of miraculous.

To read the full story and listen to the radio spot click here.

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