Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Why Did The Trees Fall?

As I walked the nature trails here at Woodland Hills on my everyday adventure, I noticed something a little alarming. There were damaged or dead and fallen trees throughout the park. The further I walked, the more I saw fallen trees across the trails. The park maintenance people cleared most of them away, but there were still some that had probably fallen since they'd been there.

I've been walking on these trails for a few years, but I'm not exactly knowledgeable about this kind of thing yet. Maybe there was some kind of wind storm here. Maybe there is some kind of disease getting to the trees. Maybe a parasite or some kind of animal is killing or hurting the trees. Or maybe these trees are just getting old and dying.

I don't know which of these reasons it could be, if any. There could be more than one reason, or maybe a reason that I haven't thought of yet. Maybe this is something that just happens every year.

The problem didn't look like it was due to the same thing everywhere, but looks can be deceiving. Some trees were broken at the base. Some were completely uprooted. And some were broken anywhere from a foot or more from the ground. I saw some that were broken in places more than six feet up. Some of these trees were clearly rotted, while others still looked fresh.

I would see in most places, that somebody had cut up and moved the fallen trees off the trails, so the maintenance people seemed to be aware of the problem. But sometimes I had to step over one laying across the path. So there must have been more recent events.

There were a few more trees that hadn't fallen yet, but were clearly ready to go. There was this one huge tree, that I decided to walk past quickly so as not to get splatted, that was leaning and waiting for the stress of it's weight to take it down. I also saw a few that had fallen onto other trees, and were being propped up by those other trees.

I've never seen a tree actually fall, but I would bet it's a sight to behold. I'm not sure how quickly it happens, or how much warning a person might have. I do know that I'll keep my eyes and ears open for things like this when I'm out on the nature trails. I don't think it's a big danger, but it is something to be mindful of from now on.

To conclude this story, I have to say that this is an update of an older post from a little over a month ago. The forest now seems a little emptier than it was before, but I think the trees have stopped falling. I still don't understand yet what happened. Can anyone out there give me a solution to this mystery? If I ever get an explanation, I'll post it here.

Since I have no answer yet, It's time to end this one for today. So I'll leave you with one question.

If a tree falls on you in the forest, do you make a sound?


  1. I heard on the news that some sort of borer is wreaking havoc on trees this year. That may be part of the problem.

  2. That could account for some of it. I did see some trees that were full of holes.

  3. If the tree fell on me, I'd definitely make a sound!

    A couple of weeks ago the apple tree in my back garden fell down during the night. It only had about 2cm of live wood, the rest was rotting away.

    It's interesting to see how many different creatures live inside a tree.

  4. John - I've been hiking a few times when a lot of trees fell. Just a few weeks ago I heard a loud crash in the forest behind me. I nearly jumped out of my shoes. Last winter there was a huge fallen tree blocking my path on the way out. It wasn't there when I went in.