By Deya Ramsden, Virginia Department of Forestry
In February, the winter forest may not appear to be particularly active. However, below ground, the soil remains dynamic in temperate forests even when outdoor temperatures are chilly. In a mature forest, the soil is made up of a complex mix of tree roots and a community of fungus, microbes and good bacteria.
The soil organisms are vital for breaking down organic matter so nutrients are available for uptake by the tree roots and to sustain the community itself. The soil bed maintains at a fairly comfortable temperature year-round. Even if above grounds temperatures are below freezing, soil temperatures never drop below 30˚F. In addition, the deeper layers of soil maintain even higher temperatures.
by Joey Shelton, James River Association
Be an ambassador for change in 2020 by becoming a Riparian Steward!
The Riparian Stewards program is a new volunteer opportunity offered by the James River Association. Dedicated volunteers are needed to assist JRA staff, other volunteers and landowners in planting trees along waterways and providing ongoing maintenance for the next three years.
by Anne Marie Roberts, James River Association
Autumn is one of the most beautiful times of the year to go for a ride in the country, hike a trail to a magnificent view or just sit on the front porch to view the leaves changing colors. We definitely appreciate the beautiful fall colors and the falling leaves that go with the season.
Are you interested in managing invasive species, restoring hardwood tree buffers, protecting waterways from live-stock, preserving farmland and improving wildlife habitat on you farm?
Join the James River Association, VA Department of Forestry, Thomas Jefferson Soil & Water Conservation District, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Blue Ridge PRISM Conservation Services Inc., VA Outdoors Foundation, and Agricultural Solutions of Albemarle for a day of on the farm learning and sharing!
Article by Mike Downey, VA Department of Forestry
Fall is here and some parts of Virginia have not seen rain in days! Despite the dry weather, low relative humidity and unusual warmer temperatures, the red maples, river birch, and other hardwoods are beginning to change color.
by Sarah Hagan, Virginia Department of Forestry
When you picture a riparian forest buffer what pops into your head? Neatly mowed rows of trees protected by Tubex tree tubes? We’ve been planting those types of forest buffers for so long it’s hard to conceptualize anything else. But what if you could establish a buffer for a fraction of the cost without having to plant a single tree? Natural forest succession happens when we leave a site undisturbed – grass and weeds turn to shrubs, shrubs turn to trees, and eventually we have a forest. A forester’s job is to help manipulate that natural cycle and speed the process along.
It’s fairly common to think that all plants growing are good, but taking a closer look you may find intruders within your native forest. Non-native plants are unfortunately becoming commonplace for most landscapes and without management can wreak havoc on our natural landscapes and ecosystems.
Do you want to grow forests for clean water?!
The James River Association (JRA) and the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) are here to help landowners across the Middle James watershed to restore forest buffers along local waterways. A forest buffer is an area of trees and shrubs between a stream and open land that filters soil, nutrients, and pollution before they reach the stream.
This spring, we worked with Conservation Services Inc. and their dedicated tree planting crew to install 1,300 seedlings with tree shelters on a farm in Albemarle County. This 4-acre site was the first riparian buffer project funded through the Virginia Environmental Endowment grant which is supporting the new James River Buffer Program
What have we been doing at the James River Association? Planting trees, trees, and more trees! Our staff, along with several loyal volunteers, got their hands dirty this spring installing forested buffers in the middle James River watershed. These projects headed up by our new Middle James Restoration Manager, Anne Marie Roberts, would not have been possible without tremendous volunteer efforts and willing landowners who allowed us to install buffers along creeks and streams on their property.