Experts say that autumns could be mostly brown instead of the usual greens, oranges, and reds in 50 years from now if people don’t start paying more attention to what’s going on with the shrubs, bushes and saplings in the forest. Deer are a major problem eating most of the good quality saplings, leaving the lower grade and not-so-pretty varieties of trees such as American beech. There are also invasive species such as buckthorn, honeysuckle and multiflora rose, that crowd out the native, “prettier” species.
A survey of foresters by Cornell’s Cooperative Extension in 2010 suggested that 70 percent of the state’s woodlands are not regenerating in a healthy and diverse way. There are ways to deal with invasive species and deer, too, if controversial. However, the real problem is overcoming what the study’s co-author Gary Goff calls “the Big Green Lie.” This “lie” is that people who see lots of greenery along New York highways think that everything must be fine, but in reality, it’s not.
This story was aired on the radio station WRVO in a short piece.