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Friday, July 1, 2016

Pennsylvania Clearcut - Four Years Later

Some of you may remember the post back in 2012 in which I posted a video of me walking through a recent clearcut, talking to myself like an absent-minded professor about the species of plants and trees that were re-establishing themselves after the cut.

Well, I happened to stop at the same place for lunch again earlier this week, so I took the opportunity to once again walk the same portion of the property and shoot some follow-up video. I'll post both videos below so you can watch them sequentially or simultaneously, if you care to. By a bit of luck, I noticed that if you start the videos at the same time, they sync up pretty nicely for a great comparison. You can mute either of the videos by clicking on the speaker icon in the lower left corner of the video...I muted the top one and enjoyed them that way.

First, in 2012...



Next, just this week, nearly four years later.




I think the videos speak for themselves, but I'll reiterate the main points...
  1. This was a very large clearcut, in total probably 100 times larger than what is taught in forestry school as a "sustainable" clearcut.
  2. It was conducted on a very poor upland site,
  3. It has not been re-planted or managed in any way since the harvest.
  4. Basically, this is a "worst-case" clearcut from an environmentalist's point-of-view.
  5. The site has regenerated itself naturally.
  6. Evidence of human impact, such as the densely-compacted log landing site and road, is slowly being erased by natural forces and the encroachment of the less-compacted surrounding forest.
  7. The biodiversity at this point, about ten years after the harvest, is extremely high, much higher than the remnant forest left across the road.
  8. The growth rate of this young forest is much higher than the adjacent mature forest, thereby making this large acreage a CO2-gobbling and oxygen-producing machine.
  9. The site is home, resting spot, and dinner table to a prolific number of wildlife species.
  10. The sawtimber and pulpwood that was produced from the site provided jobs and products for the benefit of mankind - and will do so again in about fifty years or so - unless it becomes "protected" by well-meaning but misguided environmental regulation.
Go Wood.

1 comment:

Jeff Wartluft said...

Another way to appreciate the forest's potential to regenerate is to look at photos taken around 1900, and compare to ones taken from the same places now. In 1900 you could see for miles. Today from the same spot you can't see very far for the trees. Unfortunately trees grow too slow for folks to see the amazing changes, and they think once trees are cut, that's the end of it. Forests grow at rates from 1 to 4 tons per acre per year. Thanks Chuck for the visible evidence.