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What our forests looked like...
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Two good reads (links below):

..thanks to a rare fossil discovery in the Pennsylvania foothills, scientists can tell the full story of America's lost forests.

The fossil site is a muddy layer packed with leaves from hardwood trees that lived more than 300 years ago along Conestoga Creek in Lancaster County, Pa. The muck was laid down before one of Pennsylvania's 10,000 mill dams, called Denlinger's Mill, was built nearby, damming the stream and burying the mud and leaves in sediment....


http://news.yahoo.com/americas-forest ... ns-arrived-220758657.html

http://www.livescience.com/7725-lost-forests-america.html

Posted on: 2013/11/14 5:38


Re: What our forests looked like...

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Thanks for the post afish. I love those trees... even while I'm raking!

Posted on: 2013/11/15 9:22
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Re: What our forests looked like...

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I seem to remember reading that there was a massive forest fire in Pa that burned a large portion of the state. Was before to arrival to Europeans. Maybe several hundred years prior. I can't find anything on the web. Article was probably published in one of the state oriented nature magazines back in the 70s or early 80s.


Posted on: 2013/11/15 14:27


Re: What our forests looked like...

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What was the evidence/reasoning behind the theory that there was a massive forest fire in PA pre-European settlement?

Posted on: 2013/11/16 12:49


Re: What our forests looked like...
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Posted on: 2013/11/16 18:00


Re: What our forests looked like...

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Quote:

troutbert wrote:
What was the evidence/reasoning behind the theory that there was a massive forest fire in PA pre-European settlement?


Only recall the article. I'd like to find out more if this was real. I know that my grandfathers both told me of massive hemlocks on the mountains of central Pa prior to logging the virgin forests. They were born in the 1890s. They had stories of hemlocks 4 to 5 feet in diameter and 200 feet tall. The mountain was logged in the late 1800s. So it would probably have had to have happened several hundred years prior to the late 1800s.

I own property my grandfather purchased a few years after logging. Hemlocks that grew after logging are only about two feet in diameter today.

Dwight you would know this land as Buffalo Mountain and the head waters of Buffalo Creek, Union County.

Posted on: 2013/11/16 19:26


Re: What our forests looked like...

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I wonder if PSU in working with Franklin & Marshall College with regard to the landscape reconstruction. Good for PSU for finding this out, but this was already determined at F&M 6 years ago. I know this because I did the research when I was a student there. I found basically the same thing that they found. Marshy, wetland floodplains with lots and lots of alders. Hillsides had a lot of oaks and beech. My primary research area was in York County, PA. I am no longer involved in the research, but I thought that it should at least be known that F&M has been at this long before PSU.

Posted on: 2013/11/17 10:59
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Re: What our forests looked like...

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What is the evidence that the floodplains contained only wetland plants?

They found both wetland vegetation and leaves of oaks, beech, chestnut, etc.

Isn't it possible that oaks and beech grew on both the hillslopes AND the floodplain?

They often are found in floodplains today.

Their site is on the edge of the floodplain, where the hillslope meets it. How would they distinguish leaves coming from the hillslope vs the floodplain?

Posted on: 2013/11/17 16:15


Re: What our forests looked like...

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Re: Article 1

It's titled "What America's Forests Looked Like Before Europeans Arrived"

But the article is about the findings at one specific spot, the edge of a floodplain, where it meets the hillslope, on a small low gradient limestone stream in SE PA.

To generalize the findings at that one specific site out to "America's Forests" is very bold!

Posted on: 2013/11/18 10:18


Re: What our forests looked like...

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Quote:

troutbert wrote:
Re: Article 1

It's titled "What America's Forests Looked Like Before Europeans Arrived"

But the article is about the findings at one specific spot, the edge of a floodplain, where it meets the hillslope, on a small low gradient limestone stream in SE PA.

To generalize the findings at that one specific site out to "America's Forests" is very bold!


Here is the study.

http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3 ... 71%2Fjournal.pone.0079317

May prove more informational than the Yahoo article.

Posted on: 2013/11/18 10:46


Re: What our forests looked like...

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Troutbert was 100% correct in his questioning of the article.

This is why the public misunderstands science. That journalist, in an attempt to grab viewers with a "wow-factor" headline, extremely over-extrapolated the real science.

The result is an incorrectly communicated conclusion, with the facade of "science" backing it up, which discourages many from even questioning it.

There's nothing whatsoever wrong with the study. It was a good one, and it drew valid conclusions, for that place and time. But it's 1 study. A few hundred more of them around the state and PERHAPS you can begin to paint a broader picture of what forests were like.

Posted on: 2013/11/18 11:00


Re: What our forests looked like...

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Quote:

franklin wrote:
Quote:

troutbert wrote:
Re: Article 1

It's titled "What America's Forests Looked Like Before Europeans Arrived"

But the article is about the findings at one specific spot, the edge of a floodplain, where it meets the hillslope, on a small low gradient limestone stream in SE PA.

To generalize the findings at that one specific site out to "America's Forests" is very bold!


Here is the study.

http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3 ... 71%2Fjournal.pone.0079317

May prove more informational than the Yahoo article.


Yes, more informational. And less disinformational!

Note that they talk about a red maple-black ash swamp forest on the floodplain, as well as low vegetation such as sedges. So, they are talking about a floodplain that was partly forested, and partly vegetated with low wetland non-woody vegetation. I think that is much more likely to be accurate than the impression given in the Yahoo article, which was a floodplain vegetated only with low wetland non-woody vegetation.



Posted on: 2013/11/18 11:14


Re: What our forests looked like...

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maybe something in here will help...just fyi

http://paforestfiremuseum.org/paffma-history.html

Posted on: 12/11 10:10


Re: What our forests looked like...

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I remember reading about a survey that William Penn oversaw in SEPA regarding tree types. At that time the most numerous of the trees (Chestnut, Oak, Walnut, Cherry, etc) produced nuts or fruit that were edible to people & animals. Critical to browsers such as deer which today are not grazers by choice.

Anyway, the tree population has changed radically in the last 300 years due to people and the woods are not nearly as edible.

Posted on: 1/3 22:02


Re: What our forests looked like...

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Not sure about SE PA, but I'd always heard pretty much the opposite in northern areas. Hemlock, in particular, were MUCH more common than they are today, and pine in general comprised a pretty high % of the total tree cover. Pines are not very productive in regards to wildlife, and compared to today, there was not nearly the density of game animals that we have today.

When they logged it all, hardwoods came back in much greater abundance.

Posted on: 1/6 15:20



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