Old Growth Diversity   Ray Weber
  Mar 11, 2007 13:52 PST 

We had a forester at a recent meeting say this:

"If there are rare species, we are obligated to protect them.
Keep in mind, that old growth has little or no rare species
except lichens present".

This seems to say, we cannot let this mature forest progress
to old growth, we have to harvest it to promote rare species!

Most of the rare species found to date are on riverbanks or in
sunlight areas anyway, not in the middle of the canopied forest.

Any comments on this? Its an interesting angle...

Ray Weber
Re: Interesting take   William Morse
  Mar 12, 2007 08:56 PST 

It sounds like a silly thing to say that old growth areas have little
or no rare species. In fact, most ecotypes have little or no rare
species; that's why they are rare. I don't mean to come across as a
smart alec, but this is an issue that really bothers me. Just off the
top of my head - rare species that are found in climax forested
communities/old growth stands: whorled pagonias, twayblade,
blunt-lobed woodsia, ginseng, toothwort, mtn sweet-cicely, showy
orchis, squirrel corn...... the list goes on. Either way, here in
western NY, it is the old growth areas that are rare!

Various regulators/officials hold the same views that other
areas/ecotypes are more important (e.g. wetlands). This seems to be
the easy fight, since they already have legislation to back them up
(Section 404 CWA and Article 24 of the NYS FWA). Because of these two
factors, development is forced into uplands/older stands of trees: a
severe travesty, especially when the alternative for development is an
old farm field infested with purple loosestrife aka NYS jurisdictional

Re: Interesting take   Lee E. Frelich
  Mar 12, 2007 09:50 PST 


Sounds like typical foresters language. Actually, the second part of the
statement is an oversimplification. The number of rare species can vary a
lot among old growth stands and types. Also, the types of species that make
up the majority of rare species in old growth (if you look across North
America) are species such as fungi, lichens, mosses, and insects, which are
important for ecosystem function, but not of interest to foresters.

Robinson is a bizarre case. Usually when there is disagreement between a
park and its neighbors, its because the park is in a remote area and
neighbors don't like government intrusion or that land was taken off the
tax roles. Robinson is the only case I have ever seen where an urban park
is at war with its neighbors. It should be obvious that a thin strip of
mostly riparian land in an urban area surrounded by single family homes
cannot be commercial forest.

RE: Interesting take   James Smith
  Mar 13, 2007 16:13 PST 

Actually, that's a good point of logic.

RE: Interesting take   Gary A. Beluzo
  Mar 13, 2007 18:56 PST 

Of course, an old growth forest is the quintessential "autopoietic"
ecosystem where the collective genetic wisdom of 3.9 billion years has
shaped those processes; a dynamic homeorrhetic system that has the
resiliency to respond to internal and external perturbations. MAN-aged
forests don't come close.

RE: Interesting take   Steve Galehouse
  Mar 13, 2007 20:04 PST 


I think species can be "rare", but an association of (more common)
species even more so, and often these associations are what might be
called old growth-- a yellow birch, white pine, eastern hemlock,
butternut, paw-paw association versus a glacial relict tamarack bog--the
bog is "rarer", but the other association displays more qualities of old

Steve Galehouse