Most of the forests in northern New England stopped being logged in the early 20th century, so all the trees tend to be relatively uniform in age – like a city where everybody is 30 years old. This isn’t great for environmental diversity and, it turns out, reduces the amount of carbon sequestration that occurs in the forest.
I know this because of an excellent report from Vermont Public Radio about research efforts from University of Vermont to fake an old growth forest by doing such things as pulling trees over to create “tip-up mounds” that happen naturally when trees blow over.
Check it out – you can read it or listen to it right here.
We had our property selectively harvested last winter. It had last been logged right after WWII. It is my unscientific understanding selective cutting is the ideal balance, yields some money for the landowner and creates a optimal mixed environment for trees and animals. I’m always amazed how finely attuned plants are to micro-climate. Open up a hole in the forest and all sorts of different pioneer species thrive.
I must admit though ever since I read “The hidden life of trees” I cringe each time I cut one down working our our annual fire wood supply.