An eastern cottonwood (Populus deltoides) located in Schaghticoke, Rensselaer County, NY, has regained its title as the largest known tree in New York State. The tree had been discovered and crowned the largest in the state back in 1972, but was removed from the list when it was not remeasured or confirmed to still exist. [Read more…] about A Schaghticoke Tree Reclaims Place As New York’s Largest
Whitetail Deer & Spreading Invasive Species
A winter walk in the forest reveals a flurry of wildlife activity that often goes unnoticed during other times of the year. Often among the many tracks in the snow are the nearly heart-shaped prints of whitetail deer. Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) are common throughout the United States, with an estimated population of 30 million nationwide.
Deer are an important part of the ecosystem, but their foraging behavior can wreak havoc in forests, where browsing may contribute to the spread of invasive plants – and decrease species diversity. [Read more…] about Whitetail Deer & Spreading Invasive Species
Deadwood: The Importance of Standing Dead Trees
Some of the most important trees in your woodlot are the ones that are no longer alive. Large, standing dead or dying trees — called snags — are an important component of healthy forests and a critical habitat feature for wildlife.
They provide places for many birds and mammals to forage, den, nest, perch, and roost. Snags are particularly important for cavity nesting birds like woodpeckers, nuthatches, and chickadees; for bats that roost within cavities, crevices, and flaky bark; and for countless species that rely on the abundant insects, fungi, and lichens as a food source. [Read more…] about Deadwood: The Importance of Standing Dead Trees
The Time to Prune Trees is Now
Care and maintenance of trees ensures their health life and minimizes liability. Trees can be damaged by high winds, snow, ice, and other severe weather events. Some damage requires immediate attention, while other damage may be dealt with later. [Read more…] about The Time to Prune Trees is Now
Along The Mohawk & Malone: Forest Fires & Logging South of Big Moose (1900-1920)
Born in England, John Gerald Fitzgerald (1850-1925) attended seminary in Troy, NY, accepting his first assignment as a priest in the Diocese of Ogdensburg. Following pastorates in upstate New York, Father Fitz – as he was affectionately called – was given the daunting challenge of establishing a parish in Old Forge, in the Adirondacks.
In 1896, Northern Herkimer County was a heavily forested region dotted by tiny hamlets, scattered lumber camps, and remote railroad stations along the Mohawk & Malone Railroad. For the next twenty-nine years, he got off the Mohawk & Malone at stations like McKeever, Carter, Big Moose, Beaver River, Brandreth, Keepewa, Nehasane, and Horseshoe Lake, carrying his bible and sacraments from these stops to remote lumber camps on snowshoes, wearing his trademark coonskin cap and woolen mittens. His parish stretched over a 200 square-mile area. [Read more…] about Along The Mohawk & Malone: Forest Fires & Logging South of Big Moose (1900-1920)
Balsam Woolly Adelgid: A Foe to Firs
’Tis the season for balsam fir, the fragrant evergreen that adorns our homes through the winter holidays. Its scent and long lasting needle retention make this the most popular Christmas tree and wreath species. Balsam fir is also an important timber species used for lumber. Native to North America, balsam fir (Abies balsamea) grows throughout the more northern latitudes and highest elevations of the country, including in the Northeast.
However, researchers predict a northward shift of balsam fir in an increasingly warming climate. Warmer temperatures are also contributing to a rise in populations of an exotic invasive pest – balsam woolly adelgid (Adelges piceae) – which feeds on fir trees, affecting their health and viability as lumber and Christmas trees. [Read more…] about Balsam Woolly Adelgid: A Foe to Firs
Yule Logs & Firewood Science
The tradition of burning a Yule log has largely fizzled out in most parts of the world. While holiday cards often feature cute, picturesque birch rounds in the hearth, old-time Yule logs in 6th and 7th century Europe were monster tree trunks that were meant to burn all day, and in certain cultures for twelve continuous days, without being entirely used up. [Read more…] about Yule Logs & Firewood Science
When Two Dutchmen Tried To Create A Maple Sugar Industry
The Holland Land Company is known for its role in settling the western part of upstate New York by acquiring land grants and selling off lots to prospective settlers in the early nineteenth century. Yet its activities in the last decade of the eighteenth century were of a different nature, as the stories of Gerrit Boon and Jan Lincklaen show.
In the last decade of the eighteenth century, two young Dutchmen, Gerrit Boon and Jan Lincklaen, traveled through the densely forested lands of Upstate New York. They eventually identified locations fit for the founding of the new villages of Oldenbarneveld (now Barneveld in Oneida County) and DeRuyter (in Madison County). [Read more…] about When Two Dutchmen Tried To Create A Maple Sugar Industry
Adirondack History: New York State to the Rescue
In the late nineteenth century, Adirondack VIP tours were arranged to assess water damage from state-sponsored dams that kept lumber mills powered and barges floating up and down the Erie Canal. Judges like Truman Fuller exhorted the New York State Forest Commission to get an accurate upstate map completed, to head off all the lawsuits. [Read more…] about Adirondack History: New York State to the Rescue
Firewood and Invasive Pests
For many of us, this season involves hunting, gathering, and preparing for a long, cold winter. This often includes stacking (or restacking) the firewood that’s been seasoning while we enjoyed the laid back warmer months of summer. Humans have used wood as a source of heat since they learned to control fire more than a million years ago.
For many in the Northeast, it’s a secondary, cost effective, and efficient way to heat our homes. In addition to home heating, firewood is often a component of camping and recreating. Moving firewood, however – whether for home heating or camp site ambiance – can spread exotic invasive pests and cause harm to the forest. [Read more…] about Firewood and Invasive Pests