Many forests in the region are still recovering from having been cleared and the land used for agriculture. As it became obvious that the hills were not good for farming, it was commonplace for the fields to be abandoned and left to grow. From an ecological perspective, years later that result can be seen in most forests which are now known as “even-aged.” These forests are simplified versions of what used to grow in the region, much less rich in biological diversity and even economic value. When left alone, though, they will recover some of the characteristics of the historic forest, albeit missing a few species such as chestnut and elm.
When a landowner client has a goal of restoring old growth, we can carry out low-impact practices that will actually put these younger forests on a faster-paced, positive trajectory in order to expedite the return of old forest characteristics. This often involves retaining significant portions of coarse woody debris as standing dead and downed wood for wildlife such as salamanders, bats, birds and bears.