The Commission recently had aspen trees cut along Old State Road in Guilderland as part of restoring habitat back to pitch pine-scrub oak barrens. Residents in the area have been contacting the Commission to find out if they can cut and take the downed trees for firewood.
Preserve regulations do not allow for the removal of anything from the Preserve, including this wood for firewood, by the public (ECL 6 NYCRR Part 648.4(a)). In addition, because of liability and safety issues the Commission cannot allow the public to cut and remove this wood for personal use.
Because Aspen is a softwood these trees will rapidly decompose over the next several years. In addition, with increased sunlight on the forest floor resulting from the tree cutting, shrubs, grasses and wildflowers will rapidly grow in these areas over the spring and summer, making the trees less obvious while they decompose. Additionally, the tangle of branches at ground level will provide a temporary habitat for a variety of animals both this winter and next spring and summer.
Wildlife habitat restoration work can be unsightly at times. However, over the long term these areas will be transformed back to the beautiful pine barrens that they once were.
~Joel Hecht, Stewardship Director