Recovering forest reveals its history like chapters in a book if you take the time to read the pages of the story.
Our eastern trapline sidles across the slopes of a steep stream valley as it heads up to the watershed ridge line. Once cleared farmland, these slopes are now reforested with mature canopy kanuka forest. Along the floor of the valley, remnants of the original forest are still present with these trees marked out by their size and height.
Station 15 on the trapline is at the confluence of two headwater streams and is a great place for a break from setting traps before the steep climb out of the valley. On the cool, moist stream bank stands a very large puriri tree that not only provides a massive structural canopy it tells the story of this forest.
This puriri predates the clearance of the valley and it would have been a large tree when the axes arrived. It clearly became a mature tree inside a forest as its branches are erect and it does not have the spreading canopy of puriri that grow in the open. It has grown up into a light well that was created when an even older tree fell and tore a gaping hole in the original forest canopy. This tree is the first chapter of the forest’s story and it proves that mature broadleaf forest has persisted continuously on this site for at least centuries.
What's in a Name?
The familiar saying "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush" warns about the risks that come with trying to achieve more by challenging the status quo.