Saturday, February 12, 2005

The Large Tooth Aspen

Huge aspens heavily wood the areas 10A and 10B at the very back of the property right next to the swamp. There are many fallen trees that have either blown over and have most of their roots pulled out of the ground or have the trunks snapped off. These create many obstructions and make the area quite difficult to walk through. The diameters of these trees are quite considerable. I released a white spruce by cutting one of these giants. With the setting sun I had to quit for the day, and tomorrow I plan to return and get the age of the tree by counting the rings and measure the length; and yet this was not the tallest of the trees - others were easily 6 metres (20 feet) taller. It seems that once trees reach a certain size then tend to slow down in growth in crown and height. These trees tend to exhibit an increase in girth and yet have a very small size for its canopy, as did this tree.

I was puzzled as to why there were almost all aspens in this area and no maple trees. There is one huge maple tree in the 10D area that is extraordinarily large in girth and very tall. This maple was noticeably tapered while the aspens tended to maintain the smaller decrease in girth with the height. One would think that this maple tree would have provided a suitable seed source for the area. According to a forester this is likely that a past farmer on this land had let his cattle graze in the forest. Since maple shoots are sweet and poplars bitter, the maples were selectively picked while the poplars remained untouched. This would be a prime example of unintentional genetic cleansing.

So with yellow hardhat, goggles, ear protectors, trusty Model 026 Stihl Chainsaw, and steel-toed boots, off I went clearing several hundred metres of trail along the snake rail fence I was at last weekend, as well as in the back. The back area remains very difficult to walk through for the dense underbrush made up of mainly glossy and European Buckthorn, and some ash saplings.

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