Today I went walking through College Woods in Durham (part of the UNH Campus) to do my first solo observation paper.
When I walked into College woods, I noticed a few things. First, there were stumps on the ground. They were highly rotted, but there just the same. Perhaps logging had been going on? I then looked at the rest of the tree canopy - lots of very old trees. I read online that all of College Woods was cut at least once. They used to use the wood to make the buildings on campus. Morrill Hall still has some of the wood - and that was put up in 1903.
I then came across one birch that is just an un-naturally large size! It was bigger than most of the huge white pines I've seen, and very tall AND wide. I don't think I've ever seen a softwood that big in my entire life. It made an impression on me. I took a photo with my hand in it so you could get the scale of how massive the trunk was.
The pine trees, for the most part, seemed older, too. They were fatter and taller than ones I'd previously encountered. There were some with huge basal scars and I first thought of fire. But then I remembered the logging stumps and thought it could be from some of the logging activity that had gone on. There were also stone walls crisscrossing the path that I was on, so it is also possible that there was pasture activity at some point as well. What a complicated site!
The second site I chose was an obvious one, a blow down site (where trees have been knocked over by wind). Several huge white pines had fallen in the same direction, and pulled up the dirt with their roots. That tells me that they fell while still alive and it had to have been quite a wind.
I did more research on properties that UNH owns, and I now have a lot of ideas about doing my next observation paper.... I didn't know there was so much preserved forest land out here!