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View Diary: If you go out in the woods today... (135 comments)

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  •  In the Smokies are some remaining (9+ / 0-)

    stands of old growth, generally in areas of steep terrain or in areas bounded by steep terrain, where logging was not conducted in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. Oaks and hickories and other deciduous trees of greater than 10 feet in diameter reside in these few outposts of the former world.

    I wandered into one during a long hike as a boy scout, 30 years ago. The profusion of undergrowth common to the eastern forests disappeared, and we were met with the expansive gloom beneath a complete canopy and of widely spaced giants. I had already seen redwoods and sequoias, so I knew the feeling of giant trees, and this was it. The area was somewhat northeast of Smokemont, and I have never since experienced that feeling of old growth in the east, despite years of wandering in the woods. In ten minutes we had traversed the grove and were back in the puny present. The simple forest diagram in your diary captures idea of old growth deciduous forest well.  

    Even if we were to save vast tracts in the East from logging, and we seem to be doing that in some places, our children's grandchildren will probably not see scenes that greeted Indians and the first Europeans. That's not to say we shouldn't be striving for renewal of those scenes in the distant future, despite Mr. Reagan and his ilk's poor understanding of what constitute natural resources.  

    It's not a campaign anymore, Mr. Obama.

    by huntergeo on Sun Aug 23, 2009 at 07:14:30 AM PDT

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    •  Rule of Thumb I Saw Was 1" Circumference = 1 Year (3+ / 0-)
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      melo, huntergeo, brein

      age for oak trees. 10' across, that's 30' around even in Indiana, 360 years old or so. That'd definitely be in old growth time range.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sun Aug 23, 2009 at 07:51:15 AM PDT

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    •  Here's what we (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Devilstower, huntergeo

      say from Clingman's Dome over the 4th this  year.

      Clingman's Dome,Emerald Ash Borer,Great Smoky Mountains

      I believe the damage is from the emerald ash borer.  A disturbingly large number of the trees had been affected.

      The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. - 9th Amendment

      by TracieLynn on Sun Aug 23, 2009 at 04:04:19 PM PDT

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      •  You can see that sort of damage (1+ / 0-)
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        to spruce and fir trees at the higher elevations throughout the Southern Appalachians, and certainly the small insects (borers and aeglids and such) contribute. I'm no expert, but a debate over the exact cause has arisen, and includes climate change and the insects. It's been sad to see these changes to the evergreen forests in those mountains during our lifetimes.

        These forests are outliers or islands of the boreal forests that cover much of Canada and exist by virtue of the colder conditions at higher elevations in the Southeastern US. That correlation of latitude and altitude across the earth has always held a fascination for me.

        It's not a campaign anymore, Mr. Obama.

        by huntergeo on Sun Aug 23, 2009 at 06:38:00 PM PDT

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        •  Acid rain has also been implicated (1+ / 0-)
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          While I hate the collapse of manufacturing in the US, the other side of it was always that air pollution coming out of the Ohio Valley has consistently degraded the southern Appalachians.  Acid rain through the latter part of the century caused weaknesses in the Fraser firs, allowing the adelgids to get a foothold.

          (Side rant -- the historically correct pronunciation of the word 'Appalachian' is with a short 'a' in the third syllable, not a long 'a' as most northerners use.  The entire range was named after a small American Indian village in what is now the Florida panhandle, which in turn lead to the name of the Apalachicola river, which caused Spanish cartographers to name the mountain range the river came from.  In short, if you use the long 'a,' you're using a historically incorrect appellation.  :-) )

          •  I started to mention the acid rain part too, and (0+ / 0-)

            certainly that can't help with otherwise stressed trees. Acid rain has been a big issue throughout the East, and especially with lake water in New England, I guess. Most of it's derived from Midwestern coal-fired power plants, right? Here in NC we've sued Midwestern states over the issue.

            Being a Southerner, I naturally use the short "a". And even though I'm a geologist, I used to have a helluva time spelling that word on the first try. Not so much now, with Firefox.

            It's not a campaign anymore, Mr. Obama.

            by huntergeo on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 07:55:34 AM PDT

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      •  Most of that's actually either fir or hemlock (1+ / 0-)
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        Both victims of woolly adelgids, the latter a more recent victim.

        Locals call the Fraser fir a "balsam."

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