Inside The New York Botanical Garden

Travis Beck

An Ever Changing Forest

Posted in Around the Garden, Gardens and Collections on December 6 2012, by Travis Beck

Travis Beck is the NYBG’s Landscape and Garden Projects Manager, overseeing large landscape design and construction projects here at the Garden. His current undertakings include the redesign of the Native Plant Garden and trail restorations taking place in the Thain Family Forest.

The Thain Family Forest at The New York Botanical Garden is a remnant of the deciduous forest that once covered most of the region. Unlike many of the remaining forests, the Thain Family Forest was never cleared for timber or agriculture, and includes numerous grand trees. Today, many of these are well over a century old.

Superstorm Sandy reminds us, however, that humans are not the only ones to fell trees. Her strong winds uprooted or snapped the trunks of over one hundred trees in the Forest. Where these trees fell, gaps now exist in the canopy, creating opportunities for the next generation of trees to grow. Our records show that Sandy was the most damaging storm in the Garden’s history to impact the Forest, but hurricanes, nor’easters, and thunderstorms are part of the natural disturbance regime for northeastern forests. Such storms open gaps in the canopy and allow for new growth to fill the space.

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