Posts Tagged ‘mounds’


When Hurricane Juan hit Nova Scotia in 2003, several trees were taken down by the wind.  Many tipped over here, one on top of the other, creating a jumble of overthrown trees in the forest.  When trees are knocked over, they pull up the topsoil with their roots to reveal the earth and stones beneath.  If these trees aren’t cleaned up, they will form pits and mounds.

When it rains or snow melts, the pits accumulate water.  These vernal pools provide water for animals and plants that would not otherwise be able to thrive in this setting.  Ferns, grasses, small trees and fungi cling to the mounds as the large roots begin their slow decaying process.  Consequently, forests in which these pits and mounds are allowed to take their natural course hold a greater diversity of wildlife.   

In many primeval forests where trees can be found in various stages of growth, the pits and mounds have created an uneven forest floor that is not typical of replanted, clearcut woods.  New reforestation techniques that seek to duplicate this by excavating trenches, are showing greater, more rapid success than those that only replant rows of trees.

The first human reaction on seeing a toppled tree on one’s property is to reach for the nearest chainsaw.   Though I personally don’t use a chainsaw, I do use a handsaw and was always eager to knock down any tree that wasn’t standing at a 90 degree angle to the forest floor.  Although cutting down fallen trees is the logical thing to do in many instances, I’m beginning to question my desire to ‘clean up’ the woods.  It’s been my practice over the years to try and flatten these mounds and fill in the pits with broken branches and dried leaves in order to level off the forest floor.  But maybe, for the sake of growth and diversity, the pits and mounds are better off just being left alone.


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