Forest - December 12 Meeting
12, 2006 17:33 PST
statement was made to us tonight that if DCR doesn't do their
the park will lose its species diversity. Despite the fact that
are virtually 100% cutting all the birch species, dogwood, and a
few others. If its left alone they say, its going to go
Seems to have gained this diversity due to it being left alone
for the last
100 yrs or so in many parts. They say their concern is
age or other diversity
Any of you that have been there and seen the mature forest
have any input on that issue? It seems to us that the parts with
least diversity are the ones that had forest management by the
camps in the early days.
13, 2006 10:24 PST
Bob and I attended an important meeting with the Friends of
Park and DCR last night. When the discussion of RESERVE was
argued that the size of RSP would preclude successional
diversity in the
future because the parcel would not be large enough to be
natural disturbance. Do you believe that the RSP (850 acres
river) is large enough for wind disturbance (considering the
frequency of wind in the area) to maintain biodiversity of the
DCR argued that unless SILVICS are used in the PARK that the
trees (especially early successional and mid-successional
suffer and the Park will end up as a long-term late successional
course the forest at RSP is in various stages of seral
development now so
the logical question was did *natural disturbance produce and
biodiversity of the area or was it the result of any silvics*
*over the past
80 years or so?* No one could answer the question. I maintained
was a key question because if natural disturbances did not
current diversity of successional seres (because the silvics
perhaps some limited silvics would be to maintain diversity of
types IF that is what the public wants. At least a few folks at
said that what they want is NATURAL regardless of the future
I know that you have done much research into landscape
disturbance and how
the frequency, intensity, and severity of disturbance will vary
the forest size and geographical location. This really gets to
the heart of
the issue of whether natural processes CAN maintain the natural
of a forest fragment the size of Robinson.
Another issue I brought up was whether forest fragments that
have had their
successional trajectories augmented by anthropogenic disturbance
in the past
could benefit from ecological restoration of some type? Your
13, 2006 10:53 PST
one point, I did verify with 2 of the older people that were
as far back as the 1920's that there has been no active
in the eastern 2/3'rds of the park in their lifetime. The only
was done in the areas that the CCC camps inhabited and had their
and other operations in. Those areas are part of our study as to
poplar is where it is, and not in any of those areas.
13, 2006 16:19 PST
To add my two cents to the discussion - Small scale disturbances
individual trees falling will maintain a some degree of openings
forest. These will be filled by plants springing up to fill the
These early successional species may be suppressed or change in
percentage of the landscape, but they should not be lost to the
The second point I would make is so what if the park becomes a
late successional forest? The forest in the surrounding areas
to logging operations are permanently in the early to middle
successional stage. We don't really need more of the same at
If you want diversity on the landscape as a whole, then it would
better to let a small piece of it, like Robinson SP, to become a
late-successional forest. It is like saying we should cut down
redwoods in Redwoods National Park because we don't have enough
bushes growing there.
14, 2006 08:21 PST
Reserves don't have to have all successional diversity in each
they only have to represent it among all reserves. Reserves of
have been an extremely commonly used strategy for conservation
public and private conservation agencies in the U.S., from
Conservancy, to state natural areas in most states, and reserves
areas within national forests.
850 acres is large enough to show dynamics of small to medium
Whether it is large enough to show all successional and
stages after large scale wind is irrelevant. No reserve is that
(except perhaps Adirondack State Park). Different stages
large scale wind should be represented among different reserves.
argument that either the whole thing will blow down or that it
will all be
late-successional is spurious (and if they are worried that it
will all be
late-successional, then why mark all the birch to be removed)?
whole thing blows down at once, or all succeeds to
forest, that's fine. That's why you have a number of reserves
each forest type scattered around the landscape, so that
large-scale disturbance will occur at different times and you
will end up
with reserves in all stages of succession and development.
The biodiversity of the areas is mostly the result of the
ecosystem types (areas with different soil types and
example, there are areas that support mesic forest and areas
dry forests of scarlet oak, river edge and upland, etc. The
also partly due to past disturbance, both human and natural.
ecosystem type, large gaps >1000 square feet caused by
windfall of several
trees in a group, harvests, and surface fires would allow
persistence of a
few early successional species, and mid successional species
like ash, red
oak, white pine and tulip tree. These mid scale disturbances are
for maintaining that group of species, and they could be
selection cuts, or
natural wind perhaps supplemented by prescribed fire if the area
was a reserve.
Regarding your last question, I don't think it is necessary to
other than remove exotic tree species in the park and think
possibility of some small prescribed burns. Some of the areas
trees are removed might benefit by planting the appropriate
species for the
14, 2006 09:12 PST
I am hopeful that the Friends group, ENTS, and DCR can arrive at
a plan for
Robinson State Park which is best for the forest. To ensure that
intentions that are stated by the group and that actions would
agreed upon, I am proposing the creation of an Ecological
Committee (notice the word management is conspicuously absent)
legal agreement which would require the entire committee to be
the future trajectory of Robinson State Park forest. This could
investment by all parties involved and mean that the Park would
be guided by
ecologics (intention is ecological restoration and maintenance)
silvics (traditional intention was to create a lumber-producing
believe that in order to create neutral ground, good intention,
and trust we
need new language. There are negative connotations associated
like "harvest", "timber",
"management", etc. Perhaps Robinson State Park
could be a new model for citizen, government, and scientific
toward the re-establishment and maintenance of a pre-settlement
areas intended for preservation. This would include human
only along eco-logical lines with ecological intention.
14, 2006 10:49 PST
The gaps would need to occur before the stand reaches the old
development stage. Also, the 0.04 hectare (400 square meter) gap
MINIMUM necessary to have successful regeneration. Liriodendron
appear to regenerate under its own canopy SUCCESSFULLY. Yes, you
saplings and perhaps some poles but ultimately the trees do not
strength to make it up into the canopy before others topple.
Fragmented forests, if not eco-logically maintained in some way,
eventually lose many if not most of the native species to
invasives. It is
unfortunately that we are dealing with a forest fragment but
context of landscape scale forest the dynamics are going to be
different and NOT natural, thanks to human manipulation in the
So, if we are willing to have a forest with late successional
then we should ask for a PRESERVE. If we want to return the
forest to what
it may have been pre-settlement then we DO need what I call
restore the balance. That will include limited prescribed fire,
disturbance does NOT maintain early-mid successional stages
Frelichs book "Forest Dynamics and Disturbance
Regimes"). So, if you want
the full diversity of successional stages and you therefore want
management then we ARE into an ECO-LOGICAL RESTORATION mode.
I am not advocating timber harvesting (commercial or non-commercial).
saying that IF you want to maintain the complete mosaic of stand
and stand successional stages then you will need "ECOLOGICS".
perhaps will lead us away from the term "silvics"
which for some folks has a
negative connotation and brings to mind the German Forestmeister
manipulating the forest for harvestable productivity.
silviculture IS a type of agriculture (that is why USFS is in
of AG. We need new language so that well informed citizens can
some intervention may be necessary and desired IF the intention
The intention of ecologics is to restore and maintain the
ecosystem not to
create some rotational harvesting scheme.
Hope this helps.
Gary A. Beluzo
Professor of Environmental Science
Science, Engineering, and Mathematics
Holyoke Community College
"Eco-logics" versus "Silvics"
14, 2006 14:13 PST
I am liking your coining of the phrase "eco-logics",
at the very least
for its cleverness!
I am a little less excited about your seemingly whole-hearted
of the concepts of 'silvics', with little more than the logic of
'guilt by association' with the USFS, and its agency affiliation
USDA. In the context of federal land management, your
would fall more under the "preserve and protect"
mandate of the
National Park Service (USDI). Unfortunately, very little is done
the NPS in the arena of forest management per se, and only
through the NPS wildland fire management practices. As strong an
advocate as I am for restoration of more natural fire regime in
fire-adapted ecosystems, I find that the eco-nomics of wildland
management not that much different in theory or practice from
management logging practices (silvics).
That said, I am not a slave to the USFS ways, I have not worked
them since 1995. But I'd hate to see the decades of research and
investigations into forest species response to management
so easily cast aside.
A quick last comment...when I was a forestry graduate student at
with a class trip to the Harvard Forest, there was an ongoing
experiment where the researchers there were mimicking 'wind
They used 'cherry pickers' to mimic the effects of wind, and
studied the subsequent ecosystem response. I couldn't help but
if conclusions from that study would have any benefit to your
discussion with Ray?
14, 2006 15:34 PST
I have noticed in this thread, several comments about small
fires...have I missed prior threads where documentation of the
that wildfire has played in the proposed reserve?
"Eco-logics" versus "Silvics"
14, 2006 16:00 PST
I would love to see "academic apartheid" go away and
fertilization between various disciplines. How often does the
Natural Resources (i.e. Forestry) work with the College of Arts
(e.g. Botany) at most universities. I see the role of foresters
(not just timber harvest but ecological restoration and
just as I see the role of ecologists changing (e.g. urban
ecology which used
to be an oxymoron). Unfortunately, many citizens cringe when
words like "timber management" and
"silviculture" because those terms are
often associated with vivid imagery of men walking through the
nonchalantly splashing trees with bright paint and "old
driving through wetland areas and scarring the remaining trees.
I saw it
with my own two eyes one afternoon on the property abutting my
last year. I stood puzzled over how in this day and age a forest
approached with such insouciance and carelessness. Of course it
greed of the logger.
In any event there is much work to be done in the forest,
whether it be to
ensure preservation, ecological restoration, invasives control,
sustainable harvests. Foresters and Ecologists are going to have
hands full (this has been dubbed the "Century of the
keeping what they have from being frittered away by urban
fragmentation, and over 400 invasive species that affect trees
all need to work together and perhaps we DO need a new
vocabulary so that
folks will trust that we have the right INTENT when we enter the
The ways of the German Forestmeister may well become obsolete in
as we move increasingly towards ecological forestry. Silvics
will still be
part of the mix of course but in addition many new ideas of how
dynamic systems function will require new approaches.
If you read my previous post carefully you will note that I did
denigrate or dismiss "silvics" or silviculture. I did
say that for some
folks those words have negative connotations and that
silviculture IS a type
of agriculture. When it comes to producing lumber efficiently
from a forest
obviously the traditional forestmeister is best qualified. But,
there may be
a place for ecologists and "ecologics" when it comes
to restoring forest
systems and figuring out how best to preserve particular system
the context of more and more human interference.
BTW, I remember my first experience walking into a state forest
with a tape measure and field book. The regional forester walked
up to me
and asked me what I was doing there in a very authoritative
tone, he said
that he liked to know what was going on in "his"
forest. I thought at the
time his questions were very revealing. The reality is that
there are many
qualified individuals that belong in the forest, not just the
Forestry is changing for the better and I suspect I would be
differently in that state forest now. We all need to work
14, 2006 17:39 PST
I agree with your two points. It really depends on what the
Robinson State Park want. IF they want preservation of natural
that still occur there then that is possible through creating a
unless small-scale ground fires are allowed to burn, the
maintaining white birch, red oak, and white pine is rather
poplar can regenerate without fire but requires gaps at least
in which to do so. I do support a PRESERVE if that is what folks
because as you said there are not very many late successional
to persist in the Conn River Valley.
Wind disturbance is not affected by fragment size but fire
would have to be a consideration. IF high biodiversity of tree
incuding early and late successional ones are desired, then FIRE
is the only
disturbance that will keep some of RSP in those seres. Wind
even harvesting tend to keep late successional in late
advance the earlier seres to later ones. The only way you get
successional species coming into a hemlock/hardwood forest is by
Of course the problem is that because RSP is a forest fragment
that if it is
designated as a PRESERVE not all of the natural processes will
be allowed (
e.g fire) because of nearby property, etc. SO a PRESERVE will
advancement toward an all late-succession stage forest. I can
14, 2006 19:34 PST
It is important that the Friends of Robinson State Park
understand their options. With Ray Weber participating in these
discussions, and you, and Bob, that goal can be achieved. Late
Succession isn't a bad option for recreational purposes - hiking
and the like. Perhaps the questions should be what are the
special or unique ecologic characteristics of the site? Can
these characteristics be maintained through non-timbering
processes, or do trees need to be removed to achieve these
goals? In terms of trees, what seems to be special are the
tuliptree populations (from the posts it seems that is the
case). What are special about other species found in the forest?
There has be lobelia identified, and I don't know what else.
Maintaining the early and middle successional trees seems to my
mind to be an unimportant side issue, compared to these other
more critical goals if they can be achieved.
14, 2006 20:30 PST
Ed, and we are certainly trying to get a good handle on all of
DCR's cutting plan in many areas takes out most of the early and
successional, and favors the late as you likely know.
From the 1980's studies came a list of species other than trees
park that was rather extensive. Also a potential for over a
pools that were supposed to be worked on to be certified.
has none of the work done in their database. They had only one
box turtle report from a twenty year span, and that species can
easily in most areas of the park if you look during the summer
I submitted 4 more sightings with pictures and GPS data after we
out in late October that this was the case. We didn't really
work until then, so the majority of the species weren't able to
due to the time of year. The vernal pools are all ready for
next spring. None are certified at Robinson, but yet 26 are certified
directly across the river. I did observe a couple of listed
wasn't able to get pictures, so they will have to wait till
After a complete picture is available, a better idea of what is
be made. One thing is certain, the tree species diversity
be matched by an incredible flora and fauna diversity as well.
ENTS certainly has shown an active interest in preserving what
to be a park well worth preserving. The citizens in the area
appreciate the effort.
A quick field trip report also, I checked out the opposite side
river in the forest today, and found zero tulips there so far. I
quite a few ravines with similar habitat as those in Robinson,
so far nothing. There have been a few sighted in an area that is
closed off for the winter. I may hike that later on when I have
time, or wait for spring. Most of the forest I looked at today
flood plain, with oak, white pine, hickory, and sycamore the
common, with a few beech seen.
"Eco-logics" versus "Silvics"
15, 2006 10:12 PST
Don and Gary,
If I may jump into the discussion, knowing
both of you well. Don,
Gary is aware of the accomplishments of "silvics" and
wealth of species-based knowledge that is the domain of that
science. I too respect the accomplishments of silviculture as a
Remember the great Adirondack debate, when I impishly bated our
friend Charlie? The rest is history on that warm October evening
Lewey lake, as David Kittridge heard Charlie's reservations
scienitific basis of silvicuture. You'll recall that Dave donned
robe, emerged from his tent, and proceeded to energetically
Charlie - who as I recall, back-peddled pretty darn fast.
The biggest problem that Gary alludes
to, as we all likely agree, is
how silvics is applied in the field, and of course, the logging
the cycle where things often go amiss. Both Gary and I, and I
of the Friends Group, are interested in "ecologics"
and its careful,
non-rushed application to Robinson SP. It is important that all
recognize that silvics enters the picture as the eco-logical
ecologics. After all, silvics teaches us how each species
knowledge that is absolutely essential to our understanding of
expect in Robinson for the most likely disturbance scenarios.
To look back to where all this started,
DCR's missteps have fueled
the controversy over Robinson. DCR got itself into trouble
greatly oversimplifying the state of the forests in Robinson and
on simplistic justifications to the public for what was in fact
long range plan to fold Robinson in under green certification as
timber producer, though a fairly minor one - perhaps
precedent. The oaks in Robinson SP are presently very valuable
pine could become more so in the future by managing for white
From all appearances, the DCR plan
was to get its timber foot in
the door in Robinson while concurrently taking care of some
problems inside the Park, namely the dying red pines, trail
water quality issues. Revenue from the timber sale was to be
correcting problem in these areas. However, DCR was not exactly
with the public. It got itself stuck on the theme of forest
public safety, fire danger, and major timber loss from a
weather event. This standard pitch of 4 talking points has been
almost verbatim in 2 other state parks and a state forest. The 4
are repeated by other resource managers in almost mantra like
literally nation-wide. Although, I wouldn't want to generalize
when we hear these big 4 points, we can feel pretty certain that
sees dollars on the stump going to waste and is looking to sell
public on the idea of logging. I will tell you that I have
privately and somewhat diplomatically in public over their use
4 talking points. They are starting to listen.
All this having been said, it would be a
major mistake for any of us
involved with Robinson to discount the science of silvics.
nor I would do this. To the contrary, we want to call upon
Robinson, but toward establishing ecological trajectories for
species as opposed to economic ones for a few species - the DCR
want the distinction between ecological and economic objectives
clear up front and Gary is experimenting with terms that will
the two in the ears of the public. We obviously have a ways to
see no clear alternative to our direction.
"Eco-logics" versus "Silvics"
15, 2006 10:51 PST
Great synopsis Bob, and I agree pretty much with all of it.
I've yet to see any of the plan proposed as a legitimate use
of silviculture to the best ecological ends for the park.
the current plans only serve to a future timber production end.
Clearly the friends group as a whole wouldn't object to any of
ecologic suggestions that create some disturbance to propagate
oak. However, DCR is cutting all the mid and early successional
as a means to apparently accomplish that. It may, at a possible
price to species in those areas and vernal pools that need
a certain level to function. Gary's solutions would accomplish a
more, but won't produce valuable oak, but are far better for the
That's kind of a general non specific example, but it can be
seen in a few
It those mid successional oaks are left to grow, and while at it
a canopy for the species that need it, what's the problem?
could be applied at a later date if regeneration isn't
occurring, but why
solve a problem that's not present yet?
I'm sure this can be debated for a while, but clearly there are
to accomplish "forest health" at Robinson without
I think Dr. Frelich hit it on the head.
We cannot act slowly unfortunately. DCR has their plan looming
10 more meetings, and the management forester clearly isnt in
mood to wait. An agreement has to be in place by the next few
15, 2006 11:27 PST
Dr. Frelich, since you have been onsite, how do you feel about
around the vernal pools/wetlands that we visited, namely the
effects of them opening a considerable amount of canopy over
The one off the fire road isn't even marked as a wetland at the
That's the area with a large percentage of the oak marked.
Robinson Field Briefing 12/10/2006
16, 2006 07:01 PST
You don't want to forget the casualties on the way to the two!
just too incredible to contemplate. In state management plans,
stated protocol/procedures for removal from non-road/landlocked
After all, instead of municipalities formerly recommending to
Vermont's, Massachusetts finally has its own road manual.
Robinson Field Briefing 12/10/2006
16, 2006 07:13 PST
Well I'm not familiar with their protocol for that, but the fact
there really isn't any management plan for this park as of yet.
It was supposed to be created over the next couple of years.
On the way to this particular stand is a nice stand of paper
that is virtually 100 percent marked. Its also all downhill to
DCR seems to be trying to come up with a plan cooperatively
with the friends group at this point.
16, 2006 12:23 PST
Most vernal pools in old growth remnants have had gaps form
overhead periodically over the centuries (most trees live about
years and die at different times and fall all different
they die) and some of those fell into the ponds, leading to more
complexity within the ponds, as opposed to hauling away the wood
otherwise have fallen in. Coarse woody debris in and around
including logs that are partly submerged, and partly in the pond
out, as well as differences in amount of sunlight, are an
of natural ponds and their use by a variety of animals and
ponds that I saw would all benefit from more structural
complexity in and
around them. I would either cut a few trees and let them fall
may or just wait and let nature create these structures. You
some of the ponds in the Porcupine Mountains and Sylvania
in Upper Michigan, as well as the Ridges Sanctuary in Door
WI. They are incredibly complex and really give you an idea of
what to aim
for in pond restoration.
16, 2006 13:29 PST
We did not have a lot of conversation about fire in Robinson,
but given the
scarlet oak forests, there must have been fires in the past.
management is becoming complicated these days because of the
invasion, which changes the fuel characteristics of the duff
layer, and in
the case of Robinson, being surrounded by houses.
16, 2006 13:45 PST
That park has had numerous small brush fires usually one every
year in some
small area. They of course are put out and never in my lifetime
threatened houses. Not that they couldn't, but normally they are
Welcome back, Lee
16, 2006 14:59 PST
As for Robinson State Park, high conservation value forests (HCVF)
supposed to take into account things such as landscape context,
and social uses, and ecological features, and representative
supposed to do just that--represent all the forest ecosystem
within the certified agency's land holdings. It seems to me that
Robinson as a neighborhood park, place to walk the dog, for kids
for a scenic backdrop to several neighborhoods, etc., in a long,
park surrounded by houses, pretty much precludes commercial
operations and makes a reserve the park's best use, with any
exclusively for ecological restoration (or as I learned in
is no such thing now as restoration, but instead we have
realignment, since the vegetation cannot go back to the little
ice age, but
must go forward to a warmer climate). If there are not any other
that represent riverine systems and the transition to upland,
scarlet oak forests in that part of the state, then that would
automatically put Robinson in the reserve category to represent
forest types. The park could serve as a HCVF and a
at the same time. If you consult the the FSC guidelines for your
the country for specifics, you could probably come up with a
why Robinson should be a reserve.
2-cents on Robinson
17, 2006 12:47 PST
Hi. Did these questions come up, including what is put forth
Is the logging demonstration area working, in great demand? A
to your goals? Part of DCR's "forest vision" thing?
How did Robinson benefit from the FY03 environmental bond bill?
Could Robinson be a DCR demonstration project along the lines of
Forest at Williams, where nature takes its course?
Any empirical evidence or studies presented for
for different successional areas?
"Decisionmakers must know which stand and harvesting
costs and benefits and understand how these variables interact
particular management plan. They must be able to develop a
sound plan that accounts for the short- and long-term effects of
individual silvicultural treatments. Finally, decisionmakers
abreast of logging technology, transportation networks, and
vehicles. The choice of logging equipment will constrain stand
"At least two remedial initiatives seem worthy of serious
The first would be a determination of priority areas where
protection and management could be undertaken on a region-wide
than ownership basis, including provisions for joint
action. The case study of the North Quabbin
region (see below) is a vivid example of that approach in
second initiative to be considered would be some form of
secure those prime forestlands for the future.
Use of timber rights purchases or timber banking approaches
among the possible options. The state’s successful farmland
(APR) program could be a useful model here."
Thanks for letting me join the discussion. Hopefully, a case of
heads being better than one. Paula
P.S. Because the almighty dollar is what is going on here, I
can we petition for a clothing tax? Only half-kidding!
My 2-cents on Robinson
17, 2006 13:22 PST
The only demo plot done in Robinson was done quite a long time
ago. It wasn't particularly useful as any kind of demo for sure,
all a mess in that area, not only that demo area, but the area
was worked by the CCC camps. Heavily weeded and invasive
The demo they did north of here looks horrendous from the
That the one you are referring to?
Not sure what the FY03 thing is, Ill have to research that one.
That other site from what I know about it may require some
measures due to the plantations at Robinson, and the invasives.
Not sure how much help all of this is.