Saturday, April 23, 2011

Nobody Cares For the Trees Anymore

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.


  1. Is the nature conservancy very active in your area? They seem our best hope for saving more places...

  2. I love the rich, loamy smell of a deep forest glade. I can almost smell it looking at your pictures.
    I love the shot of the downed tree covered in moss and/or lichens.

  3. When I lived on the Oregon Coast and would travel to other areas I always felt that the beautiful old growth tree in front of my home welcomed me home when returning.

  4. Great photos of your luscious old growth. I have to read The Lorax. Good animation version at -- if you can get past the vision of Eddie Albert reading it.

  5. ps: I'll bet your Raven friend DOES remember you--they have amazing powers of memory and recognition. In an experiment w/ their crow cousins at Cornell, the crows could recognize people who had caught, banded, and released them even when the "perps" wore masks or other disguises.

  6. Lovely place. There is nothing quite like a forest to soothe the soul.

  7. you speak for my trees merri? (lorax)

    thank you for this post about the PNW forests.

    the grounded ones that nourish you mentioned are called nurse logs for this reason. they lead to magnificent sculptures of roots like you saw.

    i don't usually mind the clear cuts because firms do such good work replanting. i appreciate the signs that tell when forests had been replanted so we can see the progress. of course old growth that the owls need take much longer than a lifetime.

    i am glad i was able to show my husband some of the "big pines/big cedars" in western washington - you know the ones. the ones that miniaturize you as you approach, and when you touch them, hundreds of years of US history comes to mind.

  8. When we first looked at our place, crawling through underbrush & blackberry -- to discover an actual "Woods" that had been pretty much left alone for at least 40 years -- we were so excited that we couldn't get to the RE office fast enough! It took years to accomplish what we have -- but it's our "special" place. I walk through sometimes & imagine what it looked like when the old growth stumps were living, huge trees! We act as stewards now,of a small ecosystem we hope will outlive us by Many, Many years...
    The will really open your eyes to other plants that are endangered & how you can help!

  9. I grew up with Redwood trees in my backyard, and I so miss them.

  10. The musty smell of an old growth stand is intoxicating.