Kyle Woods, Mahoning Co., OH    thomas diggins
   Apr 04, 2003 08:18 PST 
Yeah baby!!! Got a tip from another Bio professor at YSU that the small Kyle Woods State Nature Preserve held some nice mature forest. Cool. What, she didn't tell me, however, is that it holds 8 - 10
acres of KILLER CENTRAL HARDWOOD OLD GROWTH! Awesome oak-hickory upland site 20 minutes from campus, and, almost embarassingly, walking distance from my apartment. In my defense, the mature stuff can't
be seen from the road, and the site looks pretty "old-field" until you walk in a ways.

My one-day tally, with help from a couple of students:

Fourteen canopy species. Three general types of woodland, intergraded and not real distinct: 1) oak-hickory, 2) beech maple, 3) vernal pool areas with some red maple and black tupelo. Most of the woods
is quite dry. We found, in general order of abundance (with max CBH):

Major canopy components-
1) White oak 12' 6"
2) Red oak     11' 11"
3) Sugar maple 10' 10"
4) American beech 7' 8"

Lesser components-
5) Tulip tree    9' 11"
6) Bitternut hickory ~5'
7) Shagbark hickory 5' 7"
8) Red maple   10' 4"
9) White ash   8' 11"

Fewer than five mature trees-
10) American basswood 11' 6"
11) Black oak 9' 4"
12) Black cherry 6' 0"
13) Black tupelo 5' 3"
14) Black walnut 6' 0"

Tangent/baseline heights are pretty reliable, as the forest floor is quite flat and open here (BTW, it looks like the funding for my range finder will arrive right when the canopy leafs out - gotta love
bureaucracy). Heights >110' are averages of two vantage points, and precision was good (<2' spread).

1) Tulip tree 118.9' x 8' 3"
2) White ash 117.2' x 6' 5"
3) Shagbark 115.9' x 5' 3"
4) Basswood 113.4 x 11' 6" WOW!!!
5) Bitternut 110.6 x 4' 6"
6) Red maple 110.4' x 7' 7"
7) White oak 108.7 x 7' 9"
8) Red oak 108.4 x 5' 9"
9) Walnut 102.9' x 6' 0"
10) Sugar maple 96.7' x 6' 4"

Rucker Index = 110.3'

Pretty good for an upland site. The old growth core of this site is absolutely stunning. The state web page for the preserve says it has been undisturbed since 1903, but I suspect we'd have to go
farther back than that to find any human influence. The site is referred to as "old growth", but is characterized only as "beech-maple" - a rather limited description. This woodland was part of a
farmstead donated to public trust several decades ago. The Ohio Turnpike runs right through the property, but fortunately eliminated only farmland and second growth. The old growth is several hundred
yards away from the expressway. There are several other very fine sites near YSU that I hope to visit in the coming weeks.

Sadly, Ohio was heavily logged all through the 1800s, supporting not only timber and farming needs, but also a cottage iron industry. Huge amounts of timber were cut to fuel small furnaces before the MN
deposits were mined. Worse still, private lands all over NE Ohio show recent evidence of ghastly high grading. Lands that were forested when I was at Kent State are moonscapes today. There is no
forestry in Ohio as far as I have seen, only plunder. It is a farce to argue that forest cover within the state is increasing over time, unless we consider 10' high thickets of coppiced red maple a
replacement for diverse central/northern hardwoods. Total puke.

More to come, hopefully more good stuff.