Re: restoring old growth?

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restoring old growth?

Post by Joe » Thu Jun 09, 2011 8:36 am

The N.R.C.S. Office ( has a practice, "Restoration and Management of Declining Habitats Restore old growth characteristics".

Our state forestry extension office has prepared a study, "Restoring Old-Growth Characteristics ", see:

I'm curious what y'all think of the idea of restoring old growth? That seems odd to me, like restoring virginity.

I mean, yuh CAN'T really restore old growth- you might be able to assist the forest is looking more like old growth over a long period, but you ain't gonna really restore it.

I'm sure such projects are and should be carried out on public or NGO forests but it's unlikely many private landowners will bother. I certainly would love to do such a project on private land if the owner wants to- but so far the phone isn't ringing off the hook on that one.

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Lee Frelich
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Re: restoring old growth?

Post by Lee Frelich » Thu Jun 09, 2011 12:18 pm


Restoring old growth could have two different senses. One would be to try to push a second growth forest towards old-growth characteristics in terms of structure and species composition. Whether you can restore old-growth in that case depends on the definition of old-growth (of which there are hundreds), but if you mean primary forest, you can't restore that.

The second sense, which I get into in the Midwest, is restoring primary forests that have a problem of some sort--a forest that has had deer eat the tree regeneration and/or native plant species like Trillium in Minnesota, or that was invaded by buckthorn. Restoration of old-growth makes sense in this context. We can fence out or reduce deer populations (there are several examples of this in Minnesota in state parks or natural areas), or remove the buckthorn and get the native understory plants back after the buckthorn is gone, although this has proved problematic, since we don't know a lot about native understory species.


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