In the mid-1980s on an Adirondack Park Agency field trip, the superintendent for Litchfield Park, John Stock, a pretty astute forester, stated that the beech die-back was as serious a problem as acid rain.
I thought, you have got to be kidding: His concern was made clearer when he pointed out that beech is extremely prolific and competitive, sprouting en masse from old roots. He predicted that most, if not all, would succumb well before reaching maturity and they would be of poor quality. At the same time, and this is a critical and devastating factor, these poor-quality sprouts would occupy vast areas that could be populated by sugar maple and yellow birch. The darn beech sprouts—the “sons of beeches,” so to speak, and daughters as well—would usurp the northern hardwood sites.
Sadly as well, about the time that the scale insects were attacking the southern Adirondacks and moving north, lumbermen and women had developed a process of curing beech to increase its worth and importance, making the beech loss of greater concern.
Now I see from the Explorer’s coverage of this issue that Stock’s forecast is tragically coming true.
Gary Randorf, the Philippines