Posts Tagged ‘Forestry’

Thursday, April 28, 2016

POW Labor Camps in the Adirondacks

PineCamp1942The word Adirondack calls to mind many things — natural beauty, family playground, sporting opportunities, colorful history — but nothing so dark as prisoner-of-war host.

Yet during the last world war (let’s hope it was the last), followers of Hitler and Mussolini populated the North Country. Volumes have been written about the suffering endured in POW camps, but for countries adhering to the Geneva Conventions, there was a clear set of rules to follow. Among them was that prisoners must receive adequate provisions and supplies (food, clothing, living quarters), and if put to work, they must be paid. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

New Study Considers Combining Livestock And Forestry

A longhorn steer in a forest near Schroon Lake (photo by John Warren).A Paul Smith’s College professor and his student landed a new peer-reviewed journal article in the international scientific journal Agroforestry Systems.

Joseph Orefice, professor of forestry, and Leanne Ketner, a senior majoring in integrative studies at Paul Smith’s, investigated the use of silvopasture on farms in the Northeastern United States. The practice, which had never been documented in the region before, integrates livestock and trees within the same pasture, providing shelter and forage for the livestock while maximizing the use of the trees as productive and healthy crops. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Kushaqua Tract Plan Includes 100 Miles Of Public Roads

Kushaqua Roads MapThe New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has released the Final Kushaqua Tract Conservation Easement Lands Recreational Management Plan (RMP) for motorized recreational use of snowmobiles, ATVs, and motor vehicles on the approximately 18,000-acre easement in the northern Adirondacks.

The Kushaqua Tract Conservation Easement Lands are located in the towns of Franklin and Brighton in Franklin County formerly owned by International Paper Corporation. DEC purchased a conservation easement on the lands in 2004 which included development rights and logging requirements. The easement also includes public access to the property and more than 100 miles of existing roads. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, March 17, 2016

Trees: White Pine Bears Important Fruit

eastern white pineThe old saw “money doesn’t grow on trees” will remain valid unless bartering ever becomes the norm, in which case fruit and nut growers will be awash in tree-grown currency. Figuring exchange rates would be quite a headache, I imagine. Our eastern white pine isn’t considered a crop-bearing tree and it certainly doesn’t sprout cash, but it has borne priceless ‘fruit’ all the same.

The tallest trees this side of the Rockies, white pines of up to 230 feet were recorded by early loggers. The current US champion stands at 188 feet tall, and in New York State we have several over 150 feet. In terms of identification, white pine makes it easy. It’s the only native pine out east that bears needles in bundles of five, one for each letter in ‘white.’ (To be clear, the letters are not actually written on the needles.) It produces attractive, six-inch long cones with resin-tipped scales, perfect for fire starting and for wreaths and other holiday decorations (might want to keep those away from open flames). » Continue Reading.


Monday, March 7, 2016

In Adirondack Forests, Trees Age Differently

grandmother tree in warrensburgSenescence is the decline in vigor that happens to all creatures great and diminutive as they close in on the life expectancy of their species. People my age suddenly find they require reading glasses to see the phone book. Though I suppose by definition anyone still using a phone book is old enough to need glasses, right?

The onset of this process varies — you probably know of families whose members frequently retain good health into their 90s, and other families where that is not the case. Of course environment is important. Eating and sleeping well, cultivating gratitude, and laughing a lot will help keep us healthier longer. But there comes a point at which even the best-preserved specimen can’t avoid the end of life.

Trees also go through senescence at different rates. Each species has an approximate lifespan after which no amount of TLC can keep them alive. One of the more popular white-barked birches for landscape planting is the native gray birch. You may love your birch clump, but those trees are old at thirty years, ancient at forty—by the time they double over and kiss the ground in heavy snow or an ice storm, they may be on their way out anyway. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, February 25, 2016

Farm Talks: Organic Farming, Woodlot Management

Fosdick Chestertown Organic FarmThe next two Farm Talk presentations – on organic vegetable farming and woodlot management – will be taking place on March 11, 2016.

Rand Fosdick, Farm Manager for Landon Hill Estate Farm, will present “Starting A Small Certified Organic Farm.” Fosdick will be followed by John O’Donnell, Certified Forester for Benchmark Forest & Land Management, who will present “Woodlot Management: It’s In Your Roots”. » Continue Reading.


Monday, February 22, 2016

Forest Product Biochar Enriches Soils, Improves Productivity

enriching soils with biocharAt this time of year, many a gardener’s daydreams turn to the springtime promise of sprouting plants. Seed catalogs start arriving in the mail months before the soil will be thawed and drained enough for planting, and we use this downtime to plan for the coming season.

At Green Fire Farm in Peacham, Vermont, Michael Low is also planning, not only for this year’s crops, but for biochar to help those crops grow. He harvests about 50 cords of low-grade wood each year on his 67-acre homestead, and turns the wood into his own version of black gold. Biochar is charcoal used for agricultural purposes. Its advocates laud its potential to retain soil nutrients, sustain moisture levels in both drought and heavy rain conditions, and sequester carbon in the ground. For evidence of biochar’s usefulness, they point to the terra preta of the Amazon region, where biochar-enriched soils have maintained high fertility for thousands of years. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Front Yard Forestry: Cabling Weak Trees

Front yeard foresteryOne of the ways Mother Nature keeps the forests healthy and strong is by “letting” trees with poor structure split during high wind or ice load events. Such trees become decayed and die young. Those with better genetics (or better luck) are the trees that reach maturity. This selection process is great for woodlands, but it doesn’t work quite the same way for trees growing in yards, streets and parks.

Trees often develop imperfections. The vast majority of these are benign, but some can be dangerous. To avoid breakage of large limbs and associated flying lawsuits and debris, trees with obvious defects are often removed. But since many problems are a result of human activities, it hardly seems fair to cut down a mature shade tree if there’s an alternative. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Lichens: More Than Meets The Eye

A lichen covered treeWe all know correlation does not equal causation, and that it’s unfair to convict someone based on circumstantial evidence. But when every appearance points to a culprit, it’s hard to resist jumping to conclusions, which by the way is my favorite athletic endeavor. After all, the kid out in your yard holding a baseball bat might not be responsible for the ball that just smashed through your window.

A landscape tree has a rough life, by definition beset with hardships not faced by its forest-dwelling peers. When chronic stress catches up to one and it declines and dies, I often hear from the homeowner about beetles, pillbugs, mushrooms or what-not (mostly what-not) found near the crime scene that must be to blame. It’s understandable – it’s like the kid with the bat. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Halloween Natural History: Witch’s Brooms

TOS_Witches_broomHarry Potter rode one during the Quidditch matches at Hogwarts. The Wicked Witch of the West zipped around on one in the Wizard of Oz.

We’re talking, of course, about witch’s brooms. No one knows exactly why witches were associated with with flying brooms. But the trope is remarkably persistent. The witch is the perennial favorite in Halloween costume popularity rankings, and she always carries a broom, generally a twiggy bundle with a handle that doesn’t look like it would do much for a floor.

But there’s another type of witch’s broom. This one grows on trees, or, more specifically, from the tree. It’s a tightly-packed mass of shoots, a deformity caused by organisms that have invaded the tree, or a genetic mutation.

» Continue Reading.


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