Friday, February 23, 2007


Here's a link to an article in the Christian Science Monitor about the resurgence of the moose population in Massachusetts: 'Forests lure moose to Massachusetts.'

According to the article, there are upwards of 1,000 moose calling the Bay State home, many of them preferring the area around the Quabbin reservoir.

In explaining the original demise of the animal from within our State borders, the article notes that, "By the mid-19th century in New England, only 30 percent of...forest remained."

The author then offers this positive assessment of the current state of New England forests: "Today, however, the Bay State is more than 60 percent forested, while New England as a whole is about 80 percent covered in trees. There's now more wood in New England forests than at any time in the past 200 years."

Hey, we can all use some good news every once in awhile.

Then again, what's good news for some is often bad news for others. In the 'there goes the neighborhood' department, local white-tail deer may not exactly be rolling out the Welcome Wagon for the new moose on the block. Folklore has it that when the moose move in, the deer move out, premised on the idea that moose have the height advantage, often grazing a bush or tree up too high for the more diminutive deer to join in the buffet, causing deer to move along in search of greener pastures. The article seems to back this theory up somewhat, reporting that "the average moose eats up to 60 pounds of roughage daily." True or not, a few local hunters I've spoken with reported seeing moose, or moose sign, during last year's hunting season, but not so many deer, if any at all.

In case you were wondering what a New England with 70% of its forest missing looks like, here are a few stark photos from the U.S. Geological Survey that might help you complete the picture. The captions are from the USGS website. No wonder the moose left.

"Glacial morain with abundant boulders of granite on surface at Chas. Griffin's farm, three miles east-southeast from Dana, Mass., many of the boulders are 8-10 feet long. Barre quadrangle. Worcester County, Massachusetts. May 18, 1907."

"Land cleared of boulders that are piled in walls about the fields. Three miles east-southeast from Dana, Mass., near Charles Griffin's farm. Barre quadrangle. Worcester County, Massachusetts. May 18, 1907. USGS Bulletin 760, Pl. 16-A, 1925."

As always, thanks for stopping by and take care.

Photo One: USGS Photographic Library, ID: Alden, W.C. 260; Photo Two: USGS Photographic Library, ID: Alden, W.C. 261; Photo Three: USGS Photographic Library, ID: Alden, W.C. 262

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