Frequently asked questions

How old do the forests have to be to be considered for the network? If an old-growth forest already exists in a county that would be the ideal forest to add to the network. If there is currently no old-growth forest remaining (the more usual situation) than the ideal forest for the network would be an older, intact forest. If no older forests exist than any piece of land can be considered “future old-growth” and added to the network. Forests in the later category will be especially interesting subjects for studying how species richness changes as they develop.

How many acres do the forests have to be to be considered for the network? Forests of any size will be considered, but in situations where a number of possible forests exist the largest one will be preferred. A small old forest is better than no old forest, but as the acreage of a forest increases the ecological functioning becomes more complex. Some species do not breed well in forests that are less than 250 acres.

What restrictions will be put on the forests in the network? Forests in the network will remain forever wild with no logging, no spraying of insecticides or herbicides, and no collections of plants and animals. Forest will remain open to hikers during all daylight hours free of charge. Properties may change ownership, but the deed restrictions will remain.

What infrastructure will be needed in the forests? The old-growth network is a place where nature rules and humans only visit, therefore very little infrastructure is necessary, or desired. A parking and turnaround area for schoolbuses and a marked trail are all that is necessary. Some counties may choose to install trash facilities and/or restrooms. These decisions will be made on a case by case basis.

What about crime? In every state and county of the nation there are laws relating to acceptable behavior. Those same laws will apply in the forest the same as they would on a public street.

What about the occurrence of non-native species in the forest? What about fire? What about tree diseases? What about windstorms? Just because a forest is part of the old-growth network does not mean that it will stay one hundred percent healthy. Disasters and invasive species and storms are all part of nature’s cycles. There is something to be learned from how a forest, left alone, responds to these challenges. Of course there are many forest types, and every situation is different, but generally non-management will be the rule.


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