Saturday, October 29, 2011

"Among the Ancients" redux

It's been cold, <40F all day; the heavy rain of this morning has given way to driving sleet and snow. All this a few days short of November. Not usual here. I've been alternating between bringing tropicals, houseplants, and orchids indoors and reading Among the Ancients. And I've spent a lot of time this week thinking about Old Growth Forests, Joan Maloof's campaign for preservation, and my post about the same.

First off, I have to say that the book got short shrift from me . It's really a wonderfully written, informative long essay, broken into chapters, each one dedicated to a particular site in each of the states east of the Mississippi. While the narrative is basically a melange of historical, scientific, and personal anecdotes, threaded gracefully through it is a cogent argument as to why we need to make an effort to specifically preserve and create accessible Old Growth.

It's an appealing and unique idea to make the preserves accessible to the public. Hey, I guess that's the point. In the chapter on New Jersey's Saddler's Woods, she explains why land trusts, almost universally include a management plan that includes cutting. I'm not on real solid ground here, but from what I understand, the vast majority of land currently preserved in a way that would allow for the redevelopment of Old Growth forests is wilderness area. These are barely accessible; most are far off the beaten path and access is severely limited.

Some of the people I spoke with were a bit put off by what they perceived as the demonizing of foresters in general; I felt a similar, if not as strong response myself. Still, if they (foresters) won't be persuaded of the merits of dedicating an infinitesimally small percentage of forest to Old Growth....

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