Monday, October 22, 2007

10.22.07 ICONIC TREE

When we think of an image of a tree, we very often think of this one, the white oak, Quercus alba. And justly so since it is one of the most common trees of the eastern forest in the United States. Superlative as well in longevity, a white oak can live to be eight hundred years old. Here it is loaded with acorns ready to feed all sorts of wildlife. The fallen acorns, or mast, are an essential part of the forest ecology. The Smithsonian recently reported that white oak seedlings, despite all of the frenzied planting by squirrels, are taking a hit. The huge increase in the herds of deer in our eastern forests are making it very difficult for white oak seedlings to survive. They are commonly browsed by hungry deer. Researchers note that we won't see it for many years, but the lack of juvenile oaks will have a dramatic effect on our future forest.

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