Clearing of 120 acres of old-growth trees in Pocomoke State Forest proposed

POCOMOKE STATE FOREST, Md. – The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is considering cutting down 436 acres of trees in the Pocomoke State Forest. This is a normal operation that they say helps preserve forest life.

But the Old Growth Forest Network says the problem is that 120 of those acres are old-growth trees nearly 100 years old. Executive Director Joan Maloof says old-growth trees can often grow for hundreds of years, and help protect younger plants and the animals that live there. “As these trees grow, they compete with each other. The stronger ones win out and get larger, and the smaller ones stay in the understory. There are some species that just come into a forest that’s older because they prefer the shade than full sun,” said Maloof.

Maloof says among those trees in the proposed area are Loblolly Pines, Oak, Hickory, Maple, Holly, and Dogwood trees, which all help to build bio-diversity. She says that biodiversity would be all but lost if those trees are cleared and replaced with pine trees as planned. “The more different species of trees you have, the more different species of insects, mosses, and birds you’ll have,” said Maloof. “By removing the oldest parcels, and leaving behind what will essentially be a pine plantation with many fewer species, we lose all of that.”

The plans for the clearing of these trees aren’t set in stone. If the Maryland DNR decides to move forward, the plan would go into effect from July 1st, 2021 to June 30th, 2022. Maloof says if you’d like to keep up to date on the plans you can reach her at joan@oldgrowthforest.net. She says anyone is welcome to join the Old Growth Forest Network, and also encourages folks to reach out to the Maryland DNR.

Categories: Local News, Maryland