web analytics

What’s New in Our Preserve

If you have visited RTPI in recent weeks, you may have noticed that we have cleared trees in a small section of our preserve. Although removing trees from a forest seems counter-intuitive, there are good reasons why this will actually improve the quality of our preserve.

Our land has undergone a succession of changes over time. The entire region was originally forested, but nearly all forest was cleared for agricultural or other uses when Europeans settled. Ancient-looking apple trees scattered throughout our preserve indicate that it was once an orchard, but it has been fallow for many decades. As time passed, scrub and fast-growing “pioneer” tree species colonized the land. Unfortunately, much of the scrubby vegetation consists of non-native, invasive species, such as multiflora rose and Asian honeysuckle, which thrive in such settings. Many of the trees that occupy the area are now dying of old age or disease (Emerald Ash Borer has wreaked havoc on our area’s Ash trees in recent years.)

We are in the process of removing these unsafe and unhealthy trees to give the maples, oaks and other hardwoods room to grow. Non-native scrub will be replaced with a mixture of native grasses and wildflowers to benefit butterflies, birds, and bees; and all the life that depends on them. Intensively altered land, such as our preserve, generally does not revert to a healthy forest without active management. In the short term, our meadow is going to look a little messy. Soon, however, the grasses will grow, the flowers will bloom, and the birds that Roger Tory Peterson loved to paint will fill the meadow with song.