Forest cover may overlie an understory that homes. Suburban and exurban woodlands - this one close to Keene, NH - provide example of wherein tree cover is misleading?

It shows up we still don’t always see the woodland for the trees.

Most world were duped through a flurry the media attention last summer erroneously reporting that brand-new Hampshire exceeded Maine for having actually the highest percentage the state land area classified together “forest” in the nation. Together a result, this same human being are now righteously indignant when I tell lock “sorry, we continue to be number two.”

Let’s collection the document straight.

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A USDA Northern forest research examine led by Dave Nowak the Syracuse college did certainly determine new Hampshire’s tree cover is 89 percent - higher overall than Maine’s tree cover calculation of 83 percent. Yet Maine quiet has an ext overall forest land. Maine is 89 percent forested contrasted to brand-new Hampshire, which stays 84.9 percent woodland land, according to Randall Morin the the USDA forest Service’s continuous Forest list and analysis program (FIA). Follow to Morin, the FIA program procedures land usage every 5 years in brand-new England inventorying 20 percent of every state’s floor area every year. The Syracuse research measured really existing tree cover. Therefore Maine has locations of regenerating timberland divide as woodland by FIA that would certainly not have actually been counted in the tree covering study.


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FIA specifies forest land together land at least 10 percent stocked by woodland trees of any size, or land formerly having such tree cover, and not currently occurred for non-forest uses. The minimum area for category as forest land is one acre.

Statistical distinctions are an ext than only semantics. There are an essential ecological differences between locations under tree cover and those that are truly forested.

To know the eco-friendly distinction, consider the functions of a woodland understory. Woodland soils, hydrology, water infiltration, overwhelming attenuation, organic diversity and wildlife habitat diversity of forests all differ considerably from those in one understory in ~ backyard tree or in shopping facility beauty strips. The higher percentage of tree cover potentially contains homes, lawns, gardens, picnic tables, and also edges of round fields, golf courses, parking too many or various other woodland fringes. Tree cover might not necessarily provide a wide range of tree period classes, sizes and varieties composition consisting of standing dead “snag” trees and downed, rotting logs. It’s likewise true that a vast interconnected microscope wilderness of mycorrhizal fungi only thrive in specific forest soils in intimate associations with particular tree types and moisture regimes not well-represented beneath “tree cover.” Habitats forced by forest specialists prefer pileated woodpeckers and spotted salamanders are more complicated and nuanced 보다 those utilized by grackles and gray squirrels for which tree alone provide sufficient habitat.

It’s understandable that civilization -- journalists consisted of -- i think the aerial estimate of “tree cover” is associated with “forest cover.” but this standard “apples to oranges” comparison ignores woodland ecosystem services and facility habitat associations not found in suburban backyards and also urban fringes.

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It’s also true the there are new Hampshire inhabitants who would certainly love to claim the superlative difference held by Maine for having the most forested state. Yet our 89percent aerial “tree cover” calculation doesn’t qualify us to undertake the most-forested crown.

When it pertains to forest land, at 84.9 percent we space still 2nd to Maine’s 89percent forested status. It offers us something come aspire to!