COLUMBUS – Davey Woods in Champaign County is one of four Ohio State Nature Preserves inducted into the Old-Growth Forest Network (OGFN) on April 21 and 22 to coincide with the celebration of Earth Day. The other inductees are Baker Woods State National Park (SNP) in Mercer County, Gross Memorial Woods SNP in Shelby County and Hueston Woods SNP in Butler County.
Davey Woods is located on Lonesome Road northeast of St. Paris. It contains numerous large tulip trees, sugar maple and several species of oaks as well as an excellent array of spring wildflowers. The preserve totals 103 acres with approximately 90 old-growth acres. Of these large trees, some of the tulip trees sampled were noted to be 145 years old, and one of the larger red oak sampled was 111 years old.
“We’re excited for these outstanding preserves to join the Old-Growth Forest Network,” said Jeff Johnson, Chief of the ODNR Division of Natural Areas and Preserves. “We appreciate our partnership with the network and look forward to continuing our work to preserve these vital habitats for future generations of Ohioans.”
Old-growth forests are increasingly rare and ecologically important environments for a variety of native species. The OGFN includes forests with these valuable attributes that are publicly accessible and have formal protection against commercial logging. With this year’s induction class, Ohio now has eight state nature preserves in the network.
“We look forward to adding more Ohio forests to the Network in the future. We depend on a volunteer in each county to help us identify candidate forests,” said Dr. Joan Maloof, OGFN founder and executive director. “In addition to creating a network of forests, we are also creating a network of people who care about forests.”
Baker Woods SNP is 42 acres of old-growth shagbark and shellbark hickories, bur, swamp white, white and chinquapin oaks, estimated to be upwards of 150-200 years old.
Gross Memorial Woods SNP is 49 acres of some of the least disturbed old-growth woods in west-central Ohio and one of the few mixed-species swamp forests remaining in this part of the state. The age of trees is estimated to be upwards of 150-200 years old.
Hueston Woods SNP is a tiny remnant of the beech-maple forest that once stretched in a broad band from southwestern Ohio to its northeastern corner. The forest is dominated by the ghostly gray trunks of beech trees along with varying proportions of sugar maple, red and white oaks, and white ash. Many of the beech trees are over 200 years old, and one tree is approximately 300 years old.
For more information, visit the ODNR website at naturepreserves.ohiodnr.gov. To learn about Ohio’s other forests included in the OGFN, visit www.oldgrowthforest.net/ohio.
Submitted by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.