Monday, February 10, 2014

Yorktown Battlefield (2/7/2014)

This is what is called a “widow maker”, or one of those trees you do not want to cut down. This photo was taken in the Yorktown Battlefield National Historic Park.  Interestingly I am here near the border of the National Park and Newport News Park.  On the Newport News side trees like this are cleaned up, in the national park only the trails are kept open, but parts of the woods look like pick-up-sticks.  I don’t mind that at all, since it is more a natural appearance and provides a lot of habitat from birds and critters.  It may even provide some protection for plants from the ferocious deer we have in our area.  These deer will eat anything they can find and there is very little regeneration (except for plants they do not like) and very little herbaceous understory.  I kind of wish there was a way to cull the deer so close to the neighborhood.  On the other hand all these fallen trees make for an immense fuel load, and if we get a fire this will be the crown fire of the year and I fear for my home and that of our neighbors.  One of those Catch 22s.  One day I spent some time in an old growth forest stand in Ohio, and I still hope our woods would look like that, but the accumulation of leaf litter, the lack of ground fires and the deer seem to make further evolution of these areas into an old growth forest more difficult.

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