Saturday April 23 2011
I love the forest. But sometimes I despair.
"Nobody cares for the trees anymore..." That's what Treebeard, an Ent and keeper of the forest said in The Two Towers... and looking at some of the clear cut forests in the Pacific Northwest, I sometimes get the same feeling.
I hate walking by clear cuts. The land looks assaulted and pillaged, the forest destroyed. The patchwork of clear cut forests you see from the air can be dispiriting. Most logging companies replant their lands now, but the trees are replanted close together, and it takes 30 years for a fir to grow to 40 feet with a trunk diameter you can easily wrap your arms around. And once an old growth forest is cut - it's gone. It takes hundreds or thousands of years to create an old growth forest.
Thank goodness for the National Parks. You can't find anything much finer than a Pacific Northwest old growth rain forest like you see in Mt Rainier National Park in Washington. Here the standing trees are ancient, and the lying down ones are more ancient still - and coming back to life.
Fallen trees provide the nourishment and fertilizer for the rich soil and the thick cloak of ferns and mosses and fungi - and the new trees that grow from their innards.
The fallen giants become carpeted bridges through the tangled and twisted rainforest when you want to get from here to there without a trail.
Hug a big old tree here and you feel its soul, from the tip of its crown reaching to the skies, to its roots anchoring deep into the past.
Here in the old growth rain forest, we do care for the trees.