Natural Disturbances

Diverse Forests are Better

How to reduce risk in the face of catastrophic disturbance? 

 

Diversity is a good thing when it comes to the ability of the forest to resist damage or rebound quickly in the wake of a hurricane or major insect infestation.  However, at present, our watershed forests are not as diverse in age or structure as they could be. 

 

As a result of decades of over-browsing by deer, previous land use patterns, and the legacy of the 1938 hurricane, only 10% of the forest is less than 15 years old, and the rest is mostly even aged, and 70 or more years old.  Why are age and height important?  A study of damage to the forest from the 1938 hurricane found a general trend of increasing damage with age.  Depending on the species, 10 year-old stands were damaged at the rate of 0 to 15%, whereas 30 year-old stands were damaged at rates ranging from near zero to 100%.  At age 70, the minimum damage rate was 30%.

 

That is why DWSP forest managers are following a publicly reviewed management plan that will gradually lead to a well balanced mix of young, mid-aged, and older trees (as well as a variety of species) well distributed across the watershed. 

Recommended Content

People also viewed...

You recently viewed...

Personalization is OFF. Your personal browsing history at Mass.gov is not visible because your personalization is turned off. To view your history, turn your personalization on.

Learn more on our .

*Recommendations are based on site visitor traffic patterns and are not endorsements of that content.