I often talk about encouraging diversity in our forests. The reaction of most people is that they want their forest to be diverse, but they might not know what that actually means or why it’s important.
As many Vermonters know, prior to European settlement Vermont was almost completely forested. In the 1800s about 80 percent of the state was clearcut, largely to create sheep pasture. Many of these pre-settlement forests were what we would now call “old growth”: forests that had developed without extensive disturbance for centuries.
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.
The question of whether we should increase the use of salt on our roads has periodically been a subject of debate in Charlotte. It was an item on the recent February 12 Selectboard agenda. The position of the last tree warden, Larry Hamilton, was to oppose the increased use of salt. I support this position for all the same reasons as previously put forth, summarized here: