If today's installment of Something Wild fell to my NH Audubon cohorts, it would be easy to feature our national symbol, the Bald Eagle--perfect for patriotic Fourth of July! Instead, "NH Forest Guy" wracks his brain to make a tree connection to our nation's birthday. All I could come up with is that bottle rockets are affixed to wooden sticks and that firecrackers and other pyrotechnics are constructed and packaged using cardboard and paper--all derived from tree. No trees? No fireworks!
The patter of rain. Fingers of wind comb the canopy of tender leaves. These are exotic sounds of the new tree canopy in late May. New Hampshire forests are adapted to withstand rigors of wind and weather. Leaf structures reflect inner tree plumbing we rarely consider.
Tubes of the water-moving "xylem" are coiled like springs that stretch and recoil to some degree and not break the tension of water in these drinking straws. Stem fibers of differing lengths break at different stress points
For some plants, the race to harvest sunlight to make food starts early, in March. Skunk cabbage and many alpine plants begin to photosynthesize under the snow using red "anthocyanin" pigments which can absorb the longer-wavelength blue light at the ultra-violet end of the spectrum--even while buried beneath the snow.
Do you know New Hampshire is home to seven national champion “Big Trees?” These are the largest examples of their species discovered nationwide. New Hampshire hosts the largest black locust, mountain-ash, pitch pine, eastern white pine, black spruce, staghorn sumac and black birch in the entire US. They’re among 760 champion trees documented by The NH Big Tree Program.
A recent American Forests magazine featured NH's Big Tree program and highlighted efforts by dedicated volunteers searching for the biggest trees in the state.
For homeowners, the floating, spinning or tumbling tree seeds that collect on lawns, patios, gutters and driveways require raking or sweeping. Those "pesky" shade trees! Yet consider the tremendous wildlife food source and genetic wealth that seed crops represent, particularly cyclical acorn crops in NH!
It's the most unusually-shaped trees in the forest that fire the human imagination. After all, the misshapen, warped, multi-trunked, split and hollowed trees have long been favored as homes by woodland cartoon figments: elves, dwarfs and ogres - not to mention Pooh bears, Piglets and wise old owls.
Welcome summer! Today is "Summer Solstice" - the annual crest of sunlight when the sun reaches its highest point in the sky is "solar maximum." Imagine for a moment the green living infrastructure of our planet as a vast industrial factory seasonally producing carbohydrates and oxygen… call it a "manufacturing plant" if you will.
Memorial Day Weekend is late for trees to unfurl tiny, tender pale green leaves. Yet trees growing at the highest altitudes of our State's White Mountain National Forest are among the last to leaf-out each spring.
Hikers are familiar with a curious phenomenon only conspicuous in late spring and again during autumn foliage season: faint diagonal stripes - like a barber pole - appear on forested flanks of many White Mountain peaks.
The January issue of Atlantic Monthly online reported a curious connection between the death of 100 million ash trees killed after the arrival of the invasive, exotic “Emerald Ash borer” beetle in lower Michigan to an ensuing spike in rates of human heart disease and pulmonary illness including pneumonia.
According to the National Christmas Tree Growers Association, buying a natural, farm-grown Christmas tree is a traditional custom for up to 30 million American families who celebrate the holidays with the fragrance and beauty of locally-raised, farm-grown Christmas trees. Today, the majority of Christmas trees are plantation-grown. There are an estimated 350 million Christmas trees growing nationwide.
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.
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.