The Illinois Department of Conservation, in cooperation with various conservation partners, is conducting a program designed to increase the number of Oak and Hickory trees in a small section of the Trail of Tears State Forest in western Union County.
Oaks and Hickories, being very shade intolerant, are often out-competed by faster growing, and more shade tolerant Beech and Maple Trees. As a result of this change in forest composition, the amount of food available to animals decreases, since Oaks and Hickories, and their resulting nuts and acorns, are eaten by a wider variety of animals, as are the fruits produced by Beeches and Maples.
To fix this problem, the IDNR is supervising the selective cutting of Beeches, Maples in order to open up more "pockets of sunlight" on the forest floor to enable the Oaks and Hickories to thrive.
WSIU Radio recently traveled to the demonstration site, just west of Jonesboro and visited with IDNR Forester Benjamin Snyder, for an up-close look at the unique project.
For more information about this project visit: https://www.facebook.com/101691346567146/photos/pcb.1053742521362019/1055115607891377/?type=3
To learn more about Trail of Tears State Forest visit: https://www.dnr.illinois.gov/Parks/Pages/TrailOfTears.aspx
To learn more about the native trees of Illinois visit: https://www.dnr.illinois.gov/publications/documents/00000696.pdf
Benjamin Snyder works for the IDNR as a District Forester covering the Counties of: Franklin. Jackson, Williamson, Union and Alexander.
Snyder can be reached at 618-565-2828 or via e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org