This position doubles as the Director of the Division of Lands and Forests, and as such is the top public lands manager in the state, supervising the management of the 3-million-acre Forest Preserve, more than 750,000 acres of conservation easements, over 700,000 acre of State Forests, and thousands of acres of Wildlife Refuges and various other properties. [Read more…] about DEC Should Conduct A Nationwide Search For A New State Forester
Typically, “tree aging” is done by counting annual growth rings, either on a stump or on a sample core taken by a special tool. But the phrase can also refer to veteranization, a process whereby trees are prematurely aged through targeted injury and stress in order to create specialized habitats. It’s much like the ageing of parents, a treatment administered by one’s children to produce worry lines, grey hairs, and character.
We humans whistle past the cemetery, as it were, with refrains like “50 is the new 40,” apparently hoping to trick death into giving us a free decade somewhere along the line. For trees, there is no single definition of old. A mountain-ash is decrepit by fifty, while a bur oak of that age is a mere adolescent. Every species has a lifespan range beyond which no amount of wishful thinking or supplements can help. [Read more…] about Old Trees Play A Unique And Essential Role
Scientist-like persons hired by the fossil fuel industry have long maintained we should celebrate an ever-increasing level of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. This gas, a key building block in the photosynthetic process, can enable plants to grow faster and get larger. It’s been called the “CO2 fertilization effect.”
Many crop yields are projected to increase. And bigger woody plants, the reasoning goes, can amass more carbon, thus helping to slow the rate of CO2 increase in a handy negative-feedback loop. [Read more…] about Climate Science: Does Rising CO2 Benefit Plants?
During the nearly 35 years I’ve spent answering questions about Sullivan County, NY’s rich and colorful history, a few topics come up far more than any others.
For example, lots of people want to know about the location of the very first summer hotel in Sullivan County, and the question of whether Al Capone ever owned Lake Louise Marie — and is it named for the gangster’s wife and/or girlfriend? — never seems to go out of style.
But possibly the most asked question of all is about the origin of the colloquial term “scooper.” Whether a person is hearing the word for the first time, or they have lived in Sullivan County all their lives and have grown up hearing — and using – the term, most people have no idea how it came to be. [Read more…] about Scoopers: Popular Catskills Slang
Winter, when sunlight slants in, is the time when bark comes into its own. Pause to take in the aged-brass bark of a yellow birch, or the hand-sized bark plates on a big white pine. [Read more…] about Tree Bark in Winter
As someone who grew up with wood heat, I assumed it was hands-down one of the most sustainable, eco-positive fuels for home heating. Like many other widely shared conventions, it turns out the veracity of that assumption depends on a lot of things.
How many people burn wood in a given locale is an obvious factor. The number of homes using wood heat rose sharply in the years following the 1998 ice storm which left residents without power for weeks on end. Also no surprise, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the use of wood heat. [Read more…] about Where There’s Wood Smoke, There’s Pollution
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.
Apparently, if you didn’t have a leftover bit of this log remaining after the marathon burn, you were doomed to misfortune in the upcoming year. The remnant piece of charred wood was tucked away in the ceiling and was used to light the following year’s Yule log. I assume it was extinguished before being squirreled away in the rafters or some really bad luck would ensue. [Read more…] about Yule Logs: Some History & Science
Fir is our favorite type of Christmas tree because of its delightful, pungent fragrance. While Christmas tree farmers cultivate a variety of fir species, balsam fir is the only type of fir native to Northern New York. [Read more…] about Balsam Fir: A Native New York Christmas Tree
The Warren County Soil & Water Conservation District has announced a new grant program, Education on Agroforestry, funded by the Lake Champlain Basin Program (LCBP) and Northeast Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC).
The grant funds a pilot program to develop education and implementation of an agroforestry plan for SUNY Adirondack’s farmlands. [Read more…] about An Education on Agroforestry from Warren County Soil & Water
When clients call about decay in large older trees, every so often it’s necessary to respond that I’m not interested in hearing any lip from them. I do this respectfully of course.
It’s a frequent misconception that the roll of callus tissue or “lip” that trees produce at the margins of a wound will cause, or at least accelerate, trunk rot by catching and holding a small amount of rainwater.
It makes perfect sense to us that if an open tree wound is allowed to stay wet for longer, it will decay faster. We all know that a stack of wood exposed to the elements will turn punky in a few years, whereas if it’s kept in a dry shed it can last indefinitely. [Read more…] about Lips and Walls: Digging into Tree Decay