Experts estimate that by 1871 there were more 250,000 miles of stonewalls throughout in New England and New York—enough to circle the earth ten times. The majority of New England stonewalls were built between 1810 and 1840. Naturalist, Tom Wessels refers to these decades when forests were cleared to pastures enclosed by stonewalls as "Sheep Fever." He calculates the mass of stone in walls to be greater than the Great Pyramids of Egypt suggesting stonewalls should rightfully be considered "the eighth wonder of the world."
Thanksgiving leftovers in my kitchen include Chinese chestnut-stuffing. Most people know that our American chestnut trees were decimated by an Asian fungus detected in 1904 that killed untold billions of trees and wiped-out one of the most common and most important lumber and wildlife trees from eastern forests before 1940.
New Hampshire is the second most forested state in the country, but according to our guest today, UNH Professor and Ecologist, Scott Olinger, our forests face serious challenges from climate change to invasive species. Today on the Exchange, we're looking at what's happening to our trees, what cane be done to protect them and the environmental significance of our forests.
The Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive Asian beetle that has killed millions of Ash trees in the Great Lakes region, is creeping closer to New Hampshire.
This week an Emerald Ash Borer infestation was found in the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts. The pest has spread from Michigan, through the Mid-Atlantic region, to upstate New York and Connecticut.
Kyle Lombard with the division of Forested Lands says, on its own the ash borer moves very slowly.
Jack Calhoun and his siblings donated the 310-acre Calhoun Family Forest to the Monadnock Conservancy. They wanted the tract to be managed as their parents had managed it -- as a sustainable timber resource, for public use, education and conservation.
Jack: This property is an aggregation of properties that my parents bought; and over the years, they managed it for sustainable timber, for wildlife, and for protection of water resources
A study from the US Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service shows that New Hampshire is the most forested of the 48 contiguous states. According to the USDA study 88.9 percent of New Hampshire is covered by trees, beating out neighboring states Maine at 83.1 percent and Vermont at 81.5
The study’s lead author David Nowak says evaluators looked over 80,000 points dropped randomly onto satellite photos from around 2005 to complete the study.
A recent 10-year update to US Forest Service “Forest Inventory and Analysis” data reveals that New Hampshire now has a slightly higher percentage - 85% of the state now forested. Yet just as our human population is aging – a so-called “Silver Tsunami” – our forests are likewise aging. More than half the timberland in NH - 57% percent - is older than sixty-one years old.
Threats to forest health from three exotic insect pests including Hemlock Wooly Adelgid, Asian Longhorn Beetle and Emerald Ash Borer loom large over the vast forests of NH. The veritable insect rogues gallery is at our doorstep after killing trees in nearby states.
Forests cover 75% of the northeast, and the vast majority of that land is owned by families or individuals. In fact, about 1.5-million people live in rural areas, but they aren’t necessarily raised with rural knowledge, or skills for managing their woods.
While following deer trails in snow you'll find pellets of scat and tufts of hair – coarse grey and white hair, hollow in cross-section. A more coveted souvenir are "sheds” – cast-off antlers.
After breeding ends in December, deer antlers loosen at the base. Once-formidable weapons of territorial defense drop with testosterone levels in January. The shed antlers cast by bucks and bull moose each winter are often promptly buried by snow.