Monday, April 13, 2015

A walk in the woods

The jet stream managed to climb north of us for a few days, so we finally got some of the warm air the rest of the country has enjoyed for weeks. It climbed to 60 F yesterday, and was hot enough to work outdoors in a T-shirt, although except for the usual Sunday chores, I did no such thing.

Instead, Aimee and I took a drive with Roo and the dogs over to the Sebasticook Regional Land Trust's Great Farm Preserve. This is about fifty acres of forest and trout stream, of which Aimee is the official "Steward."

Most recently the land trust had a logger in to clear out some brushy lumber and let in more light. SLRT is a working land trust and doesn't believe in keeping land locked up from agricultural and forestry use, so some of their plots get logged.

Unfortunately, this particular logger did a miserable job. In particular, they blocked the trail for many yards with small trees and brush. It will have to be cleared, probably by hand. The land trust board is going to be pretty upset when they hear about it. Aimee took some pictures.

In the meantime, the good citizens of Jackson, Maine, will not be able to hike the whole length of their forest trail. That's going to put a damper on our local FrogWatch this year.

For the record, even when damage is done to trails, there's a big difference between this kind of logging where the intent is to grow the trees back, and the kind of clear-cutting for agriculture we've begun to see around here. Logging for lumber, pulp, or firewood can be sustainable, if the trees are left to grow back. Logging can even improve the carbon sequestration of soils and trees. In this case, part of the intent was to remove small brushy conifers and replace with hardwoods, which would have let in some light and improved the biodiversity of the forest floor habitats. This much was achieved, despite the trail mess.

Logging for agriculture on the other hand, whether for palm oil in Indonesia, beef in the Amazon, or farming in Maine, replaces what was a forest with an agricultural landscape that is no longer capable of sequestering carbon to the same degree.

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Welcome to our Farm Blog.
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