The 'tree that built America' harvested

Sept. 20, 2012 at 4:48 PM
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NEWCOMB, N.Y., Sept. 20 (UPI) -- University researchers in New York say they are harvesting 16 acres in a school research forest of white pine, often called "the tree that built America."

The harvest in Huntington Wildlife Forest in Newcomb belonging to SUNY College of Environmental Science is part of a research and demonstration project to help restore the economically valuable tree, a SUNY release reported Thursday.

White pine has significant historical importance in the United States, the researchers said.

Not only did the British treasure the tall, straight trees for ship masts but nearly every early structure in the New World was constructed with white pine.

"Every time I go in that stand of white pine I get chills because it's such a beautiful place," resource management Professor Rene Germain said.

"When you walk in there you think you're in an old-growth stand of trees, but they're not old growth -- not even close. They're not even a hundred years old. It's because they're growing on such good soil."

The white pine plantation at Huntington, planted in 1916, is being harvested now because the trees are economically mature and the stand is ready to regenerate, researchers said.

They said they hope to support the restoration of white pine in New York state by demonstrating how well it can grow when planted and well maintained in high quality soil.

"Believe it or not, we are in danger of losing white pine as a cover type in the state," Germain said. "Currently, it represents less than 5 percent of the state's forest cover, while in the 1970s white pine represented about 10 percent of the state's forest cover."

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