Letter: A little tree science in Vail | VailDaily.com

Letter: A little tree science in Vail

Andy Stewart
Vail, CO Colorado

Dear Thomas Connelly of Maryland (“He speaks for the trees,” Vail Daily letters, March 24): Before you go urging the Town of Vail to institute a surtax to pay for your spruce tree-replanting program, perhaps you should read up on Western forest ecology. There is a reason that sub-alpine fir and Engleman Spruce grow at the higher elevations (in the “sub-alpine zone”), and the dying lodgepole pine are found are found lower down the mountain (in the “montane zone”). Trees grow where they are primarily due to their requirements for moisture, shade, and temperature. You may “anticipate the whining of those who will say we are upsetting the natural order of things,” but you can plant all the shade-loving spruce and fir trees you want in the sunny dead pine forest, and you are not going to see a new forest. You’ll see a lot of dead spruce and fir saplings. What the forest really needs are the small ground fires it has been starved of for the last century. Then the pioneering tree species like aspen and lodgepole pine will come back on their own, healthier than ever.

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