Landowners always ask me is: “is my forest healthy?” While this seems like it should warrant a simple “yes” or “no” answer, the question almost always makes me pause, my eyes glazing over. Like many parts of our world, the deeper we dig into forests the less clear things become and judging if a forest is “healthy” or not is profoundly complex.
On the morning of Oct. 21, I got the call I have been expecting and dreading. Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) has been detected for the first time in Chittenden County. State forestry officials positively identified characteristic serpentine EAB larval galleries below the bark of infested trees on private property in Richmond.
Eastern white pine (Pinus strobus) is perhaps New England’s most celebrated tree. It graces Vermont’s state seal and is the state tree of Maine (its cone is Maine’s state “flower”) and Michigan.
If you’ve been walking through the woods this late summer, you’ve probably noticed acorns in the treetops, hanging from low branches, littering the ground. Acorns, the fruit of oak trees, are the most visible of our tree seeds, but they’re just one example of “mast.”
If you research early logging practices in New England, you’ll find a lot of amazing stories. In the times before the chainsaw and the skidder, loggers headed into the woods for the winter with draft horses, crosscut saws and double-bit axes and drove the logs down the rivers in the spring.
Believe it or not, every big tree was once a little tree and, before that, a seed. Yes, those massive trunks and branches that took decades or centuries to grow were once acorns lying on the ground or aspen seeds blowing in the wind. While we value our big trees, we often forget the small trees and seeds we see today are what will become the massive maples and oaks that our great-grandchildren will admire.
When I tell someone that I am a forester, their response is usually “great!” This is generally followed by a brief pause, and then, “What does that mean?” We foresters are confused with loggers, park rangers and arborists, in addition to many other professions. What defines a forester is that we practice “forestry,” the management of forested ecosystems.
At the May 4 statewide Arbor Day conference, with the theme “Make Vermont a Shade Better,” the Vermont Urban…