Badger Bob wrote:I have just come back from a ten day "walkabout" and since no campsites are open at this time of year I took my bivvy bag and slept in woodland whenever possible (leaving no trace of course). One thing that struck me is the difference between commercial forest, managed woodland and "wild" woodland. Commercial forest is dead, comfortable to sleep in due to the thick pine-needle matting but nothing lives there. Managed woodland is fantastic, full of diversity and wildlife but nothing compares to old wild woodland that has an indescribably magical character to it. After a couple of days living around trees it really becomes apparent that the forest is something that takes hundreds of years to really establish and needs to be cherished and protected wherever possible.
How right you are! Commercial Forests, usually pine plantations have little diversity and are at least around here are often a forest monoculture. To add to it the trees are usually planted in neat rows. But at least here in the southern US they do have some wildlife. Whitetail Deer, Wild Hog, and occaisonally bear will inhabit these plantations. Squirrels will be sometimes found, feeding on pine seeds. Cottontail rabbits will be found at the forest edge.
Managed forests are better but here in the US they are not always equal. The can range from being much like commercial forests to being quite natural.
Old growth natural forests are really great! They tend to be easier to navigate due to a low amount of understory and shrub-layer growth,though some old growth forests here do have thick Rhododendron and Leucothoe growth in places. Moss often covers the forest floor. The trees are mixed at all stages of life of growth including large old trees. They have a very magical feel to them. I can enter these woods and feel the general energy to these woods. There are local hotspots around large old trees. Animal life and plant diversity abounds in these forests.
I must also mention another type of forest that is the most common around my area. That is the second, third etc regrowth forest. Some of these forests are very beautiful with tall mature, but not old growth trees. These are areas which have been logged before or have been field and have regrown to forest. But some of these forests, especially near civilization are so overgrown with invasives like Multiflora Rose, Oriental Bittersweet, Cudsew and Poison Ivy, to name a few, that just getting through the tangled mess is a chore. And these vines are hard on the trees too. And then they are invasive non-native trees like Ailanthus and Paulownia that compete with the trees native here. Forest edges are like a jungle!
While all forests are wonderful, not all are equal. They need our help.