|The root ball of a Norway spruce uprooted by Hurricane Sandy|
The eye of the storm passed about 40 miles south of the preserve, but the winds howled all Monday night. We lost electricity for 2-1/2 days and, since we're on a well, we also had no water. Nor did we have any heat. Fortunately, none of the built infrastructure at the headquarters was damaged, but the forests took a real beating.
|Just one of over 100 mature trees toppled or snapped by Sandy|
But the forests of the Pennypack Preserve (and most natural areas on the East Coast), are small, fragmented, and full of invasive plants. Instead of new trees filling these light gaps, porcelain-berry (Ampelopsis brevipedunculata), Asian bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus), mulitflora rose (Rosa multiflora), and a host of other non-native species quickly occupy sunny gaps and stymie forest regeneration. We're going to have to be very diligent about replanting the 100+ openings created by the storm to prevent such a scenario.
|Estimating the age of a topped red oak (about 125 years). The blue stains are of unknown origin but were present in the trunk when we cut it.|
(And, on a personal note, I caught my right pinky between two large slabs of the oak's trunk as we rolled them out of the way. Boy, did that hurt, and my finger swelled up, got black-and-blue, and bled a bit, but it wasn't broken.)
|The trunk, limbs and slash from the cut oak on the Pennypack Parkway trail|