woodlands as “melting pots”, as it relates to Forest
12, 2007 11:30 PST
Yesterday I measured a few trees in a
small, heavily wooded
municipal park in Rocky River, Ohio---perhaps 20 acres
homes, condos, a water treatment plant, and a railroad line.
nice tuilptree at 119.5’, a cucumber magnolia at 103’,
beeches and sugar
maples in the same height range, and also a black locust at
of a fairly extensive stand of black locusts that are definitely
tree-like with long continuous boles. Also in the canopy layer
white birch, probably B. pendula. The understory included
holly, Japanese holly and Euonymus fortunei as a climber. The
locust and American holly, while native to parts of Ohio, are
to the Lake Erie plain, and of course the birch, Euonymus and
holly aren’t either, but are adventive in this woods.
In another nearby woods, which I have
mentioned in previous posts,
similarly surrounded by development, mazzard cherry, Norway
birch and Scots pine are growing adventively as part of the
along with Japanese holly, Japanese honeysuckle, Euonymus alatus,
Viburnum trilobum in the understory. These non-native species
growing in unison with the native maples, oaks, cherries,
ashes etc. and look right at home.
In the past I’ve considered these
alien species of trees and shrubs
with some derision, feeling that they’ve “corrupted” the
they’re found, but in actuality we humans have altered some
near urban areas to the point where the aliens can compete,
from landscape plantings that surround these small wooded areas.
I think of these isolated woods, encircled by development, to be
analogous to the population of a city, and the alien plants as
segments of the population, which in the long run enrich the
as a whole (perhaps more of a grand stew, rather than a melting
I now enjoy seeing Scots pine growing
along with red maple, and
Japanese holly alongside deerberry, and Japanese honeysuckle intertwined
with greenbrier---------for these limited, urban pockets of
12, 2007 12:45 PST
I think many of us share your perspective. We
have come to accept
certain invasives as "naturalized citizens". I'm very
European beech, English oak, Siberian elm, and Norway spruce as
constituents of urban forests. On Sunday, Gary Berluzo and I
beautiful Norway spruce - a fairly old one. It measures 9.7 feet
circumference and just tops 112 feet. I looked at the tree and
an approving nod, seeing it as an asset to the community. I'm
charitable toward Ailanthus altissma, but given its tolerance of
pollution, I can see a legitimate role for it.
In terms of native eastern species that are a
bit out of their range,
black locust is not a New England native, but it is widely
and seems to fit a niche. I find their slightly tropical savanna
The subject is an interesting one. Some of us
have toyed with the
idea of being more inclusive of at least some of the alien
we tend to complain about since they are here to stay. Norway
comes immediately to mind. Most Scots pine I see in New England
pretty mediocre stuff. Over here it seems to be a very different
from what it is in Europe.
12, 2007 15:46 PST
I like Scotch pine and Norway spruce myself even if they're not
doesn't bother me to see these two species become sort of
locations, they don't seem to be invasive. Plus with the
continuing loss of
hemlock in the northeast we need all the evergreens we can get.
seem to fit in pretty good.
Now, the non-native invasive vines like porcelain berry, kudzu,
etc. are a nightmare. Scotch pine and Norway spruce strike me as relatively
ecologically "appropriate" to the landscape in the northeast, even if they aren't
Urban woodlands as "melting pots"
13, 2007 19:47 PST
I guess that
I'd only find the Scotch pines and Norway spruce 'ecologically'
in those parts of the northeastern landscapes that have been too
from their 'heritage' to re-align with their prior
like place-savers until some kind of seral trajectory is