The benefits of New Hampshire’s many trees

“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way.” (William Blake).

It’s hard not to consider trees (with or without joy) as one drives around our town and state. New Hampshire is the second-most forested state in the nation after Maine. Eighty-four percent of our state is covered in forests.

So, what are the benefits of having all of these trees? To find an answer, visit the University of NH Cooperative Extension website for the publication: “The Economic Importance of NH’s Forest Based Economy” (https://extension.unh.edu/resources/files/Resource001848_Rep2650.pdf.) In the introduction, Brad W. Simpkins, a state forester with the New Hampshire Division of Forests and Lands, writes, “These forests provide critical wildlife habitat, clean water, clean air, abundant recreational opportunities and store carbon, all while providing us a valuable renewable resource for a multitude of products from furniture to paper to fuel for heat and electricity production. Forest ecosystems are ecological life-support systems that provide a full suite of goods and services that are vital to human health and livelihood.”

With so many benefits, what’s not to like about a tree?

One of the chief responsibilities of the Bedford Land Trust is to annually monitor the 14 properties that we conserve in town. Our volunteers check to see that there are no encroachments on the conservation land and that nothing is happening that will harm the natural resources, including trees. Last spring, one of our monitors sighted a threat to hemlock trees at Pulpit Brook at the Pulpit Rock Conservation Area, the largest conservation property in Bedford. He discovered “white waxy wool along hemlock stems made by Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA).”

In great numbers, this insect attaches itself to the stems and needles of the hemlock, drains the tree of fluids and kills the tree in a matter of a decade. His discovery was reported to the New Hampshire division of Forests & Lands. A forest health specialist confirmed the infestation of both HWA and Elongate Hemlock Scale (EHS). There is no easy solution to the threat to hemlocks at Pulpit Rock or in our own backyards. Homeowners are encouraged to take note of hemlocks with paling or thinning foliage. Identification and control strategies for both HWA and EHS are explained in online publications at https://nhbugs.org/.

A healthy habitat can produce a giant tree. That is the subject of the Bedford Land Trust’s 7 p.m. program at its annual meeting on Thursday, Oct. 26, at the Bedford Public Library. Kevin Martin, author of “Big Trees of New Hampshire” and a wooden boat builder, will take us on a virtual tour through New Hampshire’s woods and into cities to find the biggest trees in the state. He will share stories of these giants along with information on management and care taking. Copies of his book will be available for sale. Kevin’s guide contains 28 hikes to 85 giant trees, impressive parts of our New Hampshire landscape. We hope you’ll join us! For more information about the Bedford Land Trust please visit www.BedfordLandTrust.org or write to info@bedfordlandtrust.org.

– Jeanene Procopis

Bedford Land Trust Trustee

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