Forests rarely disturbed by people once covered much of the state’s six million acres, but fewer than a thousand acres of tiny remnants remain. Old-growth forest is different from mature, managed woods in many ways: it has a mix of tree ages, scattered light gaps, layered canopy, mounded topography, deep humus, large amounts of dead wood, and some ancient, huge trees. In addition, it provides the best habitat for many forest animals. Numerous creatures live in the holes provided by fallen or standing snags, as in the Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga Canadensis) shown at Swallow Falls in Garrett County.
Setting aside some forest areas now will mean a future for this special habitat in Maryland.
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