The Truth About Land Reclamation

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Re: The Truth About Land Reclamation

#81  Postby Sendraks » Mar 14, 2016 2:45 pm

Scot Dutchy wrote: Scotland was cleared for sheep and hunting of everything including people. Then in the '50's the Scottish Forestry Commission went mad and planted pines and spruces everywhere killing off the local wildlife.


All very true. A nice summary of the deforestation of Scotland can be found here.

http://treesforlife.org.uk/forest/human-impacts/deforestation/

Scot Dutchy wrote:Killing off the buffalo did not have influence on the plains and the local inhabitants?

I don't believe anyone is saying otherwise. Its not even a question.
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Re: The Truth About Land Reclamation

#82  Postby Scot Dutchy » Mar 14, 2016 2:49 pm

Sendraks wrote:I don't know that much about the US plains to comment other than that they've existed into antiquity and were not the product of human intervention.


Removal of the buffalo did not affect the plains?
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Re: The Truth About Land Reclamation

#83  Postby Sendraks » Mar 14, 2016 2:52 pm

Scot Dutchy wrote:Removal of the buffalo did not affect the plains?


No one is claiming that it didn't.
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Re: The Truth About Land Reclamation

#84  Postby The_Piper » Mar 14, 2016 3:26 pm

Sendraks wrote:
Scot Dutchy wrote: Scotland was cleared for sheep and hunting of everything including people. Then in the '50's the Scottish Forestry Commission went mad and planted pines and spruces everywhere killing off the local wildlife.


All very true. A nice summary of the deforestation of Scotland can be found here.

http://treesforlife.org.uk/forest/human-impacts/deforestation/

I don't see where it says it killed off the local wildlife.
But I'm sure the red squirrels, otter, weasels, beavers, etc are happy to have what forests they do.
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Re: The Truth About Land Reclamation

#85  Postby The_Piper » Mar 14, 2016 3:27 pm

Sendraks wrote:
The_Piper wrote:
I'm interested most in the Appalachian mountaintops claim.I understand that clearing land helped other organisms thrive, woodchucks being one. I just don't understand how it could have increased biodiversity on that spot.


It is a good question. From what I recall from Bryson's book, the hilltops were cleared but the hillsides were still covered with the virgin forest. Under the canopy layer, there was far less diversity at ground level, because of the canopy cover and the resource demands of the trees themselves. So on the hilltops there are these meadows (which have a specific name, I just can't recall it), which have a diversity of wildflowers, wild grasses that in turn support insect and bird species that are not supported by the ancient forests below.

I understand that, and it's a good point, but the forests had fungi and lichens, other birds, mammals, reptiles, and insects not supported by the meadows.
In natural places where old trees fall creating clearings, many of those species who inhabited man-made meadows were probably found (in much smaller numbers of course). Including woodchucks. :mrgreen:
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Re: The Truth About Land Reclamation

#86  Postby Sendraks » Mar 14, 2016 3:29 pm

The_Piper wrote:
I don't see where it says it killed off the local wildlife.


Really? Because it clearly says on the page.

A number of key wildlife species have been lost, because of both habitat destruction and direct persecution.


Before that text the article also reads:

Fast-growing introduced species such as Sitka spruce were used to create dense plantations which tend to support a very limited range of wildlife compared to ancient, native forests. Areas of native woodland were both felled and underplanted, and so shaded out by the introduced trees. At the time conservation wasn't high up the political agenda, and many native woodlands were damaged or lost as a result.
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Re: The Truth About Land Reclamation

#87  Postby The_Piper » Mar 14, 2016 3:31 pm

Sendraks wrote:
The_Piper wrote:
I don't see where it says it killed off the local wildlife.


Really? Because it clearly says on the page.

A number of key wildlife species have been lost, because of both habitat destruction and direct persecution.


Before that text the article also reads:

Fast-growing introduced species such as Sitka spruce were used to create dense plantations which tend to support a very limited range of wildlife compared to ancient, native forests. Areas of native woodland were both felled and underplanted, and so shaded out by the introduced trees. At the time conservation wasn't high up the political agenda, and many native woodlands were damaged or lost as a result.

None of that implies that it was lost to reforestation over meadows. :scratch:
eta - that fist sentence in it's context -
A number of key wildlife species have been lost, because of both habitat destruction and direct persecution. This has had a catastrophic effect, since all the animals and other life forms that dwell in the forest play a crucial role in keeping this diverse ecosystem healthy and robust. When key species are removed, the tapestry begins to unravel, affecting the health of the whole system.
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Re: The Truth About Land Reclamation

#88  Postby Sendraks » Mar 14, 2016 3:52 pm

The_Piper wrote:
None of that implies that it was lost to reforestation over meadows. :scratch:


Well no, because we're not talking about meadows here.

In the case of Scotland we're talking about the loss of wildlife due to rapid deforestation (as supported by the page I linked) and then the rapid forestation by tree species that were not conducive to supporting the diversity of wildlife the ancient forests had and also that the new tree species out competed the ancient forest species and further hampered their chances of recovery.
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Re: The Truth About Land Reclamation

#89  Postby Scot Dutchy » Mar 14, 2016 3:58 pm

Sendraks wrote:
The_Piper wrote:
None of that implies that it was lost to reforestation over meadows. :scratch:


Well no, because we're not talking about meadows here.

In the case of Scotland we're talking about the loss of wildlife due to rapid deforestation (as supported by the page I linked) and then the rapid forestation by tree species that were not conducive to supporting the diversity of wildlife the ancient forests had and also that the new tree species out competed the ancient forest species and further hampered their chances of recovery.


Also the method of growing the trees made sure nothing in the forest could exist. I have often walked through SFC forests. I did my orientation training in them. Inside it is just a mist with very little light. The trees are planted very close to force growth. A weird place.
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Re: The Truth About Land Reclamation

#90  Postby Sendraks » Mar 14, 2016 4:05 pm

Scot Dutchy wrote:Also the method of growing the trees made sure nothing in the forest could exist. I have often walked through SFC forests. I did my orientation training in them. Inside it is just a mist with very little light. The trees are planted very close to force growth. A weird place.


:this:

As stated in the article, the planting of the forests was driven by the primary concern of replenishing the supply of wood available to the UK. Environmental preservation wasn't on their list of concerns. It was the forestry equivalent of mono-culture farming.

So, in the case of early 20th century deforestation of Scotland , it wasn't a case of:

Forest -> Deforestation -> Meadow Ecosystem -> Shitty Forest

It was a case of

Forest -> Deforestation -> Shitty Forest -> Shitty Forest now being replaced with better forest.

There wasn't a happy intervening period where meadows had a chance to establish themselves and a whole new ecosystem thrive. And in the case of the deforestation that happened earlier in Scotland's history, the diversity and viability of ecosystems which followed varied considerably due to other factors. In some areas, without trees to retain the topsoil it was simply eroded away. Sure an ecosystem remained, but not one that supported much diversity.
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Re: The Truth About Land Reclamation

#91  Postby The_Piper » Mar 14, 2016 4:27 pm

Sendraks wrote:
The_Piper wrote:
None of that implies that it was lost to reforestation over meadows. :scratch:


Well no, because we're not talking about meadows here.

In the case of Scotland we're talking about the loss of wildlife due to rapid deforestation (as supported by the page I linked) and then the rapid forestation by tree species that were not conducive to supporting the diversity of wildlife the ancient forests had and also that the new tree species out competed the ancient forest species and further hampered their chances of recovery.

Let me post again, exactly what I responded to -
Sendraks wrote:
Scot Dutchy wrote: Scotland was cleared for sheep and hunting of everything including people. Then in the '50's the Scottish Forestry Commission went mad and planted pines and spruces everywhere killing off the local wildlife.


All very true. A nice summary of the deforestation of Scotland can be found here.

http://treesforlife.org.uk/forest/human-impacts/deforestation/

Hence the confusion!
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Re: The Truth About Land Reclamation

#92  Postby The_Piper » Mar 14, 2016 4:29 pm

Sendraks wrote:
Scot Dutchy wrote:Also the method of growing the trees made sure nothing in the forest could exist. I have often walked through SFC forests. I did my orientation training in them. Inside it is just a mist with very little light. The trees are planted very close to force growth. A weird place.


:this:

As stated in the article, the planting of the forests was driven by the primary concern of replenishing the supply of wood available to the UK. Environmental preservation wasn't on their list of concerns. It was the forestry equivalent of mono-culture farming.

So, in the case of early 20th century deforestation of Scotland , it wasn't a case of:

Forest -> Deforestation -> Meadow Ecosystem -> Shitty Forest

It was a case of

Forest -> Deforestation -> Shitty Forest -> Shitty Forest now being replaced with better forest.

There wasn't a happy intervening period where meadows had a chance to establish themselves and a whole new ecosystem thrive. And in the case of the deforestation that happened earlier in Scotland's history, the diversity and viability of ecosystems which followed varied considerably due to other factors. In some areas, without trees to retain the topsoil it was simply eroded away. Sure an ecosystem remained, but not one that supported much diversity.

How this idea drastically differs to the clearing of virgin forests in the Appalachians, I don't know.
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Re: The Truth About Land Reclamation

#93  Postby Sendraks » Mar 14, 2016 4:37 pm

The_Piper wrote:
How this idea drastically differs to the clearing of virgin forests in the Appalachians, I don't know.


Because the land on top of the hills in Appalachians I was referring to, wasn't replanted on with shitty forest, but left as meadowland. Meanwhile on the sides of the hills, the forest wasn't cleared. Hence the environmental problems the landscape faced as a result of wholesale forest clearance as per Scotland, didn't manifest, and the meadows have remained in situ for the past 200 years or so.
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Re: The Truth About Land Reclamation

#94  Postby The_Piper » Mar 14, 2016 5:11 pm

Sendraks wrote:
The_Piper wrote:
How this idea drastically differs to the clearing of virgin forests in the Appalachians, I don't know.


Because the land on top of the hills in Appalachians I was referring to, wasn't replanted on with shitty forest, but left as meadowland. Meanwhile on the sides of the hills, the forest wasn't cleared. Hence the environmental problems the landscape faced as a result of wholesale forest clearance as per Scotland, didn't manifest, and the meadows have remained in situ for the past 200 years or so.
I'd have to see a citation for that. I live in the Appalachian mountains, and any formerly cleared lands that are unused revert back to forest in a lot less than 200 years. I think it's more like 40 years. Plus it's not like there's a lot of virgin forest left. The majority of it in this region is above 2500 feet, but I suspect the hilltop farming you read about occurred at lower, flatter, less rocky locations. Certainly that's the case here in Maine. There was essentially no farming that high, it would be a losing proposition. (Plus nobody lives up there. )
I live at the base of hills that were cleared and have since grown back into forest.
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Re: The Truth About Land Reclamation

#95  Postby Sendraks » Mar 14, 2016 5:18 pm

The_Piper wrote:I'd have to see a citation for that. I live in the Appalachian mountains, and any formerly cleared lands that are unused revert back to forest in a lot less than 200 years. I think it's more like 40 years. Plus it's not like there's a lot of virgin forest left. The majority of it in this region is above 2500 feet, but I suspect the hilltop farming you read about occurred at lower, flatter, less rocky locations. Certainly that's the case here in Maine. There was essentially no farming that high, it would be a losing proposition. (Plus nobody lives up there. )
I live at the base of hills that were cleared and have since grown back into forest.


From what I can recall, it was further south than Maine. Much further south. You're pretty much the start/end point of the Appalachian trail at that point yes?

And I wouldn't want to treat such a vast expanse of land as covered by the Appalachians as homogenous. Obviously land management practises across the mountains would've varied considerably state by state, county by county. All I can say is that at the time Bryson wrote his book, the hilltop meadows I refer to were still in existence and that was in the mid 90s. He mentioned them, partly because he found them delightful, and partly because at that time policy was shifting from preserving those sites as meadows to allowing the forest to regrow there because it was "more natural."
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Re: The Truth About Land Reclamation

#96  Postby The_Piper » Mar 14, 2016 8:31 pm

Sendraks wrote:
The_Piper wrote:I'd have to see a citation for that. I live in the Appalachian mountains, and any formerly cleared lands that are unused revert back to forest in a lot less than 200 years. I think it's more like 40 years. Plus it's not like there's a lot of virgin forest left. The majority of it in this region is above 2500 feet, but I suspect the hilltop farming you read about occurred at lower, flatter, less rocky locations. Certainly that's the case here in Maine. There was essentially no farming that high, it would be a losing proposition. (Plus nobody lives up there. )
I live at the base of hills that were cleared and have since grown back into forest.


From what I can recall, it was further south than Maine. Much further south. You're pretty much the start/end point of the Appalachian trail at that point yes?

And I wouldn't want to treat such a vast expanse of land as covered by the Appalachians as homogenous. Obviously land management practises across the mountains would've varied considerably state by state, county by county. All I can say is that at the time Bryson wrote his book, the hilltop meadows I refer to were still in existence and that was in the mid 90s. He mentioned them, partly because he found them delightful, and partly because at that time policy was shifting from preserving those sites as meadows to allowing the forest to regrow there because it was "more natural."

That's happened up here too, a sizable percentage of vacated farmland and hay fields have been allowed to revert back to forest. Many of the fields were used for hay to feed the horses and oxen used to log back in the day. I saw a nice comparison in an old magazine of aerial photos between 1940 and 1991 and you could see all of the new forest that had grown in since then. Young forest is valuable to a whole slew of life, itself.
Yes I live near the end of the Appalachian trail, and just a mile from the International Appalachian trail which winds it's way through northern Maine and well into Canada.
To "preserve" our fields/meadows as such they need to be mowed at least every few years, or the forest regrows on it's own.
I'd think that's the case for clearings up and down the heavily forested Appalachians, and most of the eastern third of the US which was originally forest.
There are plenty of shrubs and wildflowers in the meadows (we call them fields), with insects eating the pollen, birds of prey hunting over the open land, various rodents, deer, etc that utilize the meadows. Great place to look for neat insects without too much hassle. But the peat bogs, heaths and other wetlands are also open like that and have lots of insects, shrubs, wildflowers, etc. too. Probably many of the same species of insects, and in similar numbers as the fields. Plenty of birds of prey hunt there. Wetlands are also a treasure trove of wildlife, as you probably know. Some of those short trees and shrubs are very old and long-lived.
Where I live is a great place to look at all of this in action, where it's much less developed and traveled than the rest of the Appalachians. It's a time warp up here. :mrgreen:
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Re: The Truth About Land Reclamation

#97  Postby OlivierK » Mar 14, 2016 9:30 pm

Scot Dutchy wrote:Making simple comparisons is just plain stupid. Imagine if you did that with government expenditure? Madness.

https://data.oecd.org/gga/general-gover ... ending.htm
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Re: The Truth About Land Reclamation

#98  Postby quas » May 07, 2016 4:21 pm

igorfrankensteen wrote:I suggest that one particular thing needs to be spelled out in this thread:

"Land Reclamation" is a POLITICAL or a SALES designation, not a scientific one.

That is the starting point, if you want a dispassionate discussion, because each so-called land reclamation project has to be addressed individually, to decide what is lost, what is gained, and whether it's desirable, and to whom.

Land isn't "reclaimed," in a factual sense, unless it gets left behind in a pub, and someone shows up (hopefully sober) the next day, and proves that they own it. All other instances of so-called "land reclamation" are better described as "land/water/marsh/whatever re-purposing," at most. People who are pushing for it like to give it a more positive sounding name, in hopes that they will be half way to getting what they want, simply by limiting the discussion to why anyone should EVER be prevented from "reclaiming" something.



Global warming cause ice to melt, sea levels to rise, ultimately flooding lower level land.
So, in light of this, I guess we can now view this as reclaiming flooded land?
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Re: The Truth About Land Reclamation

#99  Postby laklak » May 07, 2016 5:01 pm

No one really knows how the Appalachian "balds" evolved, in the vast majority there's no evidence of human intervention. No traces of ancient farming or timber cutting, they're just mountain meadows that have been there for as long as anyone remembers. They're not always stable, though, and can be "reclaimed" by the forest. There are a lot of hypotheses concerning their formation, wiki has a pretty good overview.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appalachian_balds
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Re: The Truth About Land Reclamation

#100  Postby The_Piper » May 07, 2016 7:45 pm

That's the first I've heard of Appalachian balds by name and as a phenomenon. That's pretty cool. It sounds like from the article though that they too, need to be preserved as such, otherwise the forest would grow there.

While there is some evidence that grassy balds have natural origins, the forest quickly started to reclaim the balds once large-scale livestock grazing was eliminated by the creation of national parks and national forests. Grassy balds such as Gregory Bald and Andrews Bald in the Great Smokies and the balds in the Roan Highlands are currently maintained as bald areas by the National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service.[6]


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appalachian_balds#Origin_and_dynamics
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