1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)
    Caluwe - Passion for Fire and Water ( Pellet and Wood Hydronic and Space Heating)

Old Growth Trees

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by jj3500, Nov 10, 2008.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2008
    Messages:
    3,815
    Loc:
    Shelton, WA
    I've always thought of "old growth" as trees that have never been harvested. It's a sticky definition here in WA because there are 100+ year old stands of second growth and stands of "old growth" only a little older that due to fire or massive wind storms weren't harvested in the last 100 years.

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. InTheRockies

    InTheRockies New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2008
    Messages:
    366
    Loc:
    Northern US Rockies
    jj3500,

    I live in a 250 million acre forest. To remain healthy and minimize fire risks, there needs to be active culling of under growth and elimination of over crowding. Foresters also need to keep their eyes open for invading pests that can decimate trees (it's far too easy these days for foreign insects to get transported to other areas of the world). Sometimes, old growth trees need to be cut down. I get really irritated when groups try to imply you should leave forests alone and not cut under growth or cull trees. People who in anyway think we should leave forests alone and let forest fires be way of handling forest growth are arrogant and have no idea about the immediate and long-term impact on wild life and the ecosystem--I pass by areas hit by forest fires more than a decade ago--they're still charred; saplings are growing, but very, very slowly, complicated in part due to increased soil erosion caused by the loss of trees. Wildlife in the area that weren't killed in the fire have had to migrate to find enough food. My first two years here were fire years and it was frightening. I can't imagine how much wild life died in the fires we experienced. Researchers in Yellowstone are finding that the change in the ecosystems there caused by recent fires have had significant impact on the surviving wild life. For instance, it's pitting black bears against grizzlies--they've found black bears that have been killed by grizzlies. Normally, the two would avoid each other's territories, but they're both restricted to limited food supplies which is bringing them in contact with each other. In those encounters, the grizzlies will always win--they're huge eating machines.
  3. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2007
    Messages:
    3,497
    Loc:
    Arrow Bridge,NY
    Crown size and percent canopy effect growth of different species. Google shade tolerant or shade intolerant tree species. Should give you a general idea of different individual forest management practices.
  4. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2008
    Messages:
    15,972
    Loc:
    Anderson, Indiana
    2nd that!
  5. snowtime

    snowtime Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2007
    Messages:
    523
    Loc:
    northern BC
    Old growth is usually determined by what the "climax" tree is in your area. This is the succession of tree types to the final successful tree type. An example would be that pine regens first after fire then spruce grows up under the canopy. Then Balsam comes along and becomes the future dominate tree shading everything out and waiting for a forest fire. This Balsam forest will be the "old growth" in this forest it will not matter how old the pine or spruce is they are not the old growth for this forest example.

    Some old growth is not even large. There are Musial sites that have poor soil and low rainfall so the trees are ancient but small. They have exceedingly tight tree rings and make some of the strongest lumber available. Sounds strange small diameter tree in bad soil making good lumber its rare but happens. This is another example of there is more to the forest than what someone sees. Lots of interdependent things going on.
  6. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2008
    Messages:
    3,815
    Loc:
    Shelton, WA
    That's still a flawed definition - The oldest old growth around here is Hemlock and Western Red Cedar - in the Hoh River valley there are stands 300+ years old. These are shade tolerant and will, barring a fire or blow down or clear cut, eventually shade out the Doug Fir and Sitka Spruce.
  7. snowtime

    snowtime Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2007
    Messages:
    523
    Loc:
    northern BC
    I was trying to give and example of whats meant by "old growth". Actually 300 years is not a sign of "old growth" and not indicative of the climax tree of the area. Some areas have been so abused that it is not obvious what the old growth component is. Sometimes there is no old growth component as they have been completely eliminated form the area.
  8. Bill

    Bill Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    Messages:
    584
    Loc:
    South Western Wisconsin
    In order to have a healthy forest you need to manage it. My property is so wooded that the trees are tall and thin, with no side branches. These are all semi hard and hard wood trees. One tree gets hit by lightning, I cut it down, and in a few years there's saplings popping up to replace the dead tree. My forest is self renowning, thanks to squirrels. Oaks pop up everywhere, black walnuts are like dandelions. Some trees mature early and need to be removed. If they get sick, or rotten, best to cut them down. A common practice by me is for someone to buy land and quick log it to get some money back from the property. The only real old trees on my property, are ones that were in extremely difficult areas to remove. But with the equipment they have today, nothing is impossible to remove. After every windstorm I have blown over trees and lots of dead branches everywhere. I believe having trees of many different ages and sizes ensures that as the old go out slowly they are slowly replaced.
  9. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2008
    Messages:
    3,815
    Loc:
    Shelton, WA
    Actually, on the west coast it does since whitey didn't start commercial harvesting of trees till the 1880s.
  10. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 20, 2008
    Messages:
    6,425
    Loc:
    S.NH- Mass's smoking section
    I'll admit to having a gut reaction to seeing those monsters cut down. It's not like we'll see them come back ya know?
  11. JotulOwner

    JotulOwner Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2007
    Messages:
    280
    Loc:
    Long Island, New York
    Then, there are the rainforests:

    http://www.rain-tree.com/facts.htm
  12. brooktrout

    brooktrout New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2007
    Messages:
    376
    Loc:
    Hamden, NY
  13. fattyfat1

    fattyfat1 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2008
    Messages:
    104
    Loc:
    SW WASHINGTON
    DING DING DING! we have a winner. Old growth is Primevil forest. unless nature is left alone, anything cut and planted can never be considered old growth. it is all about bio-diversity. once something is cut and replanted, it becomes a tree farm. in gifford pinchot nat. forest, the are many huge stands of what apear to be old growth, logged 150+ years ago, but appearances can be decieving. if you really take the time to look at the forest, you'll see the lack of bio-diversity in said forest. western red cedar, doug fir, sitka spruce, etc. will all co-exist in an oldgrowth forest, along with groves of maple and alder. I speak from experience in the PNW only, assuming this is true everywhere. in a clear cut, if left to nature, alder, poplar, and vine maple return first.(weed trees) then slowly over time evergreens slowly appear, grow fast, and eventually overtake the weed trees which will then only suvive through openings in the canopy. Anyone who has walked through the Hoh rainforest, Quinault rainforest, or northcoast redwoods, will be able to see this first hand. these are the old growth forests i am familiar with, along with Mt Rainier's so i can only speak of those.
  14. Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle

    Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 27, 2008
    Messages:
    4,951
    Loc:
    Ridge, LI, NY
    Canopy is mucho importante , my new tree trimming dude said to me. He took down a 75 ft Oak I had (carpenter ants), and while the truck was parked, trimmed all of the dead and dying branches, etc, from the remaining trees. I can see the differance in light into the house, but even better, I can see how the trimmed trees will be more "eco friendly" with the canpoy effect going on, especially during the summer.

    I have ALOT of trees

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    My tree guy will be coming back in February, to trim some more. Drops them where they fall. Works for me :coolsmile:

    I figure by trimming, and using the wood for heat down the road, I'm giving the "little guys" a chance, and I have ALOT of those, too.

    Proper management is key, IMHO.
  15. bsruther

    bsruther Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2008
    Messages:
    734
    Loc:
    Northern Kentucky
    Most of the land around here is former pasture land. A lot of it is now in different stages of regrowth. There are some non-native invasives that really slow down this process. The main culprit is bush honeysuckle closely followed by multiflora rose. Bush honeysuckle gets it's leaves early and doesn't lose them until mid to late November making it difficult for native plants and trees to compete. I've seen cherry trees grow 10 ft. horizontally and then go vertical to get out from under the honeysuckle. I've cleared at least 100 honeysuckle (trees) in the past year and I'm not done. It's great to see the native trees growing in the open.
    I plant a lot of native hardwoods and spread seeds all over my property and adjoining properties. There are hundreds of thousands of acres around here that are now forested that was cleared land for maybe a hundred years. I want to do what I can to accelerate the process and try to help return the forest to it's native state. I realize what I do doesn't have much of an impact overall, but my little patch of world will look the way I want it to in my lifetime, hopefully.
    My point about all of this is that I think management of the forests that we do have is more important than saving the old growth forests. It seems that the whole reason behind saving old growth trees is just so that people can look at them anyway. It seems that most of the old growth is protected in some way anyway.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page