Trustees to clear growing trees at East Over

By Andrea Ray | Jun 21, 2017
Courtesy of: Buzzards Bay Coalition

Rochester — The Trustees of Reservations are looking to clear a stand of trees at East Over Reservation in Rochester.

The current fields will not be affected; the work to be done is located in a current patch of brush, where several small white pine trees are growing taller.

According to Diane Lang, the Trustees' Southcoast Superintendent, the trees intended for removal are part of a growing stand of white pines. "The area we're planning to cut is full of shrubs," she explained at the June 20 meeting of Rochester's Conservation Committee. "We'd like to keep it that way, which is why we're hoping to remove the growing trees."

The white pines that the Trustees hope to trim are not native to the Cape area, according to the Trustees, and they shade out any other trees and vegetation near them.

The shrub brush is an important habitat for several local species, such as the eastern towhee, blue-winged warbler and cottontail rabbit. According to the Trustees, the rabbits prefer to live in young forest, filled with scrub brush, as it provides more hiding places than a mature forest.

The rabbits' habitat has shrunken to about a fifth of its original size in recent years, due to a reduction in young forest. In the past, wildfires would have created a natural solution to create young forest. The wildfires would also naturally have removed white pines, which aren't fire-resistant. Today, forest management means that wildfires are mostly easily contained and prevented.

Lang said a date for removal had not yet been set, but with the small number of trees and a tree removal machine, she did not expect the work to take more than a day.

A developed stand of non-native species, namely honeysuckle, Japanese barberry and multiflora rose will remain in the area, as they provide food and water covering.

 

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