Forest Ecology question re Logging and Haul Roads    Raymond Caron
   Oct 16, 2006 04:39 PDT 

I've been interested in learning more about logging roads and dugways I
see on many mountain sides in the White Mountains of New Hampshire where
I do most of my hiking. Last Saturday from Carter-Moriah Trail on ascent
and descent to Mt Moriah I saw the most numerous concentration I've ever
seen of these. On account of the leaves falling off trees in the
surrounding canopy and tree species in the logging roads retaining
theirs they really stood out tremendously. It really looks like a
different species of tree populated logging and haul road from what grew
up in the surrounding forest. Of course this area was totally burned in
the huge fire that struck the Wild River region in 1903. The color of
the leaves in the logging roads is yellow. I used to think reason these
stood out was the roads were sidehills that showed up in canopy as
difference in elevation, but now it appears they stand out mainly
because they are different species of tree from surroundings. In
addition this is primarily lowland environment so sidehills are not
applicable here. For this to occur over such a large area is really
notable. I'd appreciate helpful comments or speculations from the many
botanists/ecologists who lurk VFTT. Refer to attached link to see
picture of this remarkable phenomena.

After further reflection on this interesting question I'm going to reply
to my own question. I bet the trees in the pictures are aspens. On this
same hike when we were on our way out and passed through bottomlands of
Stony Brook that are at similar elevation and aspect to the Wild River
bottomlands. I recall pointing out to my companion the aspens that were
nice yellow color and were still holding on to their leaves while other
hardwoods had lost them. I checked Francis Belcher's book on logging
railroads and his narrative in the chapter on Wild River logging
indicates the big fire that hit the Lost River region occurred in late
May. The area had been logged intensively for during preceding decade
and ths slash undoubtly contributed to the fire. I bet aspens produced
their floaty seeds shortly after this event and were wafted into the
area by the winds and they populated the road beds pretty quickly and
surrounding areas taken up with slash etc were populated later by other
early colonizer species such as birch. Any comments by those more
familiar with tree succession dynamics?

Ray Caron
Waltham MA
Re: Forest Ecology question re Logging and Haul Roads
  Oct 16, 2006 05:27 PDT 

The only other species I can think of would be Norway maple? They hold their leaves longer than other species and have a yellow fall color. I hope they are aspens though. At least theya re native.

Re: Forest Ecology question re Logging and Haul Roads
  Oct 17, 2006 16:12 PDT 


My guess is that the trees with the leaves still on them could be
birches...possibly yellow... that came in on the mineral soils of the road grades.