Tract of Charlestown Township Land Located Within Pickering Creek Watershed Now Preserved Forever

French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust
Image via French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust.

French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust has forever preserved 15 acres in Charlestown Township through a conservation easement on property owned by Nancy Long and her brother Tom Baldwin.

The property is located within the Pickering Creek Watershed. The Pickering Creek and its tributaries are designated as having high-quality water by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. The easement was funded by Charlestown Township.

Unique to this property, 10 acres of the oldest trees are dedicated as an “Old Growth Forest for the Future,” with an additional three acres designated as a “Forest Farm.”

According to Long and Baldwin, “Incorporating this protection strategy into an easement offers a new model to consider when woodland protection is foremost in a landowner’s mind.”

The 10 acres of old-growth forest contain a rich interplay of species due to their unique number of layers, including networks of fungal webs in the soil, low flowering herbaceous plants in the understory, and a rich variety of young, old, and dead trees in the canopy. These trees will also help with water purification and carbon sequestration long into the future.

The three-acre Forest Farm has slightly younger trees, making it an ideal environment for growing specialty crops.

Also encouraged in this part of the easement is the ancient practice of coppicing, which involves the periodic cutting of young trees to ground level, encouraging new shoots from the base.

Depending on their age, the new shoots may be used to make brooms, baskets, tool handles, fence posts, or many other useful and decorative objects.

Coppicing has the added benefit of lengthening the life of a tree, as well as providing tender young leaves for insects, which are the primary protein source for many species of wildlife.

Long and Baldwin have ensured this woodland will remain intact by marrying the permanent protections offered by a conservation easement with a new way of utilizing its natural attributes at the Pickering Creek Watershed.

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