Forest Disturbances, New Hampshire

Forest Disturbances - Bent yellow birch tree in Lafayette Brook Scenic Area in the White Mountains, New Hampshire.
Bent Yellow Birch Tree – Lafayette Brook Scenic Area, New Hampshire
 

Forest Disturbances, New Hampshire – As an environmental photographer, I am fascinated with all aspects of the forest, and understand why some photographers focus entirely on forest photography. The forest seems to be in a constant battle to survive and its very existence is similar to the human race.

Many of the trees you see bent and snapped in the forest are the result of weather related disturbances. The yellow birch tree (above) more than likely grew like this because of heavy loads of snow resting on it, causing it to bend, when it was a young tree. And it continued to grow even though it was bent. You will find many trees like this one in the New Hampshire White Mountains.

Forest disturbances, broken tree trunk along the old Bartlett and Albany Railroad in Bartlett, New Hampshire. This was a logging railroad in operation from 1887 - 1894.
Broken Tree Trunk – Bartlett, New Hampshire
 

When shooting in forests, I look for scenes that showcase the serenity of the forest, and I also look for scenes that tell the story of the ever changing forest landscape. The first thing I noticed when I came upon the above tree was that no other tree around it was broken. It was like mother nature reached down and just broke the trunk of this one. I suppose it would be considered an untimely death if this tree were a person.

Forest disturbances, aftermath of flash flood along the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River in Lincoln, New Hampshire USA from Tropical Storm Irene in 2011.
Aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene – East Branch of the Pemigewasset River, New Hampshire
 

One of the more recent forest disturbances to happen in New Hampshire was Tropical Storm Irene in 2011. The destruction (above) from Irene was massive in the White Mountains, and the flash floods destroyed everything in its path. Thankfully this is type of forest disturbance does not happen often in New Hampshire.

Forest disturbances, controlled burn along the Kancamagus Highway in the White Mountains, New Hampshire.
Controlled Burn – White Mountains, New Hampshire
 

Man also disturbs forests in a positive manner by doing controlled burns (above). The purpose of controlled burns is to reduce excessive amounts of brush, shrubs, and trees, which encourages new growth. They are routinely used in forestry management to help in the renewing of forests. You can read more about controlled burns if you are interested here.

Forest Disturbances, November 2014 - A painted trail blaze that was improperly removed, by cutting and peeling, from a yellow birch tree along the Mt Tecumseh Trail in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire. This blaze was painted on the tree in 2011, and then removed from the tree in the spring of 2012.
Wound From An Improperly Removed Trail Blaze – Mt Tecumseh Trail, New Hampshire
 

Unfortunately man can disturb forests in negative ways. The damage on the yellow birch tree (above) is the direct result of poor trail stewardship practices. The large wound is where a painted trail blaze use to be. The blaze was improperly removed from the tree in 2012, and the wound left behind has been healing since then. The cutting and peeling of the bark will not likely kill the tree, but it will set it back for life.

If you're photographer looking for new subject matter consider exploring the forest with your camera. All of the above images can be licensed for publications by clicking on the image you are interested in. And you can view more forest disturbance images here.

Happy image making..


 

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Erin Paul is a professional photographer who specializes in environmental conservation and historic preservation photography in the New Hampshire White Mountains. His work is published worldwide, and credits include; Backpacker Magazine, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the Appalachian Mountain Club, and The Wilderness Society.

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