The forest and the trees

IMG_7376I took this photo over the Christmas holidays in Quebec. The geometry (yes it’s a plantation but it’s still cool) fascinated me so I thought I’d post it.

Forestry was the topic at this week’s naturalist class, offered by the Rhode Island Natural History Survey. The instructor was Tom Dupree, former Chief of Forestry at the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management.

I have taken the Rhode Island Tree Steward course, so I am somewhat familiar with tree biology, but Dupree focused largely on the history of New England forests and evolving forestry practices, which I didn’t know much about.


Dupree took us through pre-settlement forests, to subsistence farm clearing, to the height of deforestation in the early 1800s, when 75 percent of the forests in New England had been cut down. Later, farms were abandoned as people moved west to seek their fortunes. (We often see the remnants of those abandoned farms – cellar holes and stone walls –  when we are hiking.) I was surprised to learn that today, in our tiny state, 56 percent of the land is forested.


We went outside and Dupree showed us some of the tools that are used to measure forest densities and the sizes and ages of individual trees.

IMG_7712Drilling into an arborvitae, he demonstrated how foresters obtain core samples of trees, in which the rings are visible and can be quite easily counted.


And there’s the sample, with the rings. It smelled all cedar-y.

I came away from this class with a better grasp of the history of the area, and  a rudimentary knowledge of forestry and how practices have evolved. I still hate clear-cutting though. I don’t think that will never change.


About dirtynailz

Writer for a daily newspaper, gardener, tree hugger, orchid-grower, photographer, animal lover, hiker, wilderness seeker. Proponent of clover in the lawn and a dog on the bed.
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4 Responses to The forest and the trees

  1. CJ Wright says:

    How cool! Loos like you had a great class and day.


  2. lesleymclaughlin says:

    Looks like you had another lovely winter walk. Clear cutting is such a shock to the environment. Makes one wonder why anyone would even consider it. Oh. Right. Ignorance and greed.


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