I've discovered that I'm not such a big fan of vines, especially since I found that they were seriously weighing down some of the trees near the cabin. Since vines gain a majority of their physical support from the trees they grow from, they can (presumably) put more energy into leaves and growth than trees (which must put energy effort into their structural material). This means that vines can grow much faster than trees, and can cover a tree in relatively little time. Once they cover the canopy of trees, their massive leaf growth can cause a new problem of light competition for the tree upon which it grows. In addition, some vines wrap themselves around tree trunks and branches, restricting diameter growth of the tree, thus limiting the possible growth rate of the tree.
There are a couple of trees in the front of the cabin that had vines covering them. Over the course of two days, I cut and pulled down two piles of vines (as well as some dead and live branches). The final result is a tree that looks relatively denuded of growth, since a lot of the plant matter "filling in" the gaps was actually composed of vines. I hope that once the leaves of the tree start to fill in, the tree will look more healthy. (It doesn't help that there is a dead tree - on the right of the photos - that is causing problems right now... Maybe that'll be my next project.)
I learned (after the first day), that these particular vines - which get kind of woody - make pretty good wood fuel (not as good as the willow I burned last month, but pretty good, and quite abundant right now).
Use of the Forest
Public use of Saginaw Forest is encouraged. Rules for the public's use include (but are not limited to):
- No parking in front of the access gate.
- Public use hours are from 6am to 6pm only; no camping on the site!
- No vehicles or bicycles are permitted on the site except those for approved research and teaching use (bike parking available at the main gate).
- Dogs with owners are welcome to visit, but they must be on a leash. (Also see here.)
- Dog owners must carry out all pet waste; please bring your own doggie bag to do so.
- No cutting or collecting of plant material; no hunting or harming vertebrates (this includes no fishing).
- No smoking.