Here’s something that surprised me on a bike ride through the open country south of Albany: A grove of trees on the east side of Meadow Road was gone.
I’m guessing that the owner of the field flanking the grove on three sides had a reason to want to get rid of the trees. I don’t know what it is, and I’d be grateful if someone could clue me in.
As a general proposition, it seems to me that trees in the landscape are better than no trees. Grass-seed production and other forms of agriculture have pretty much done away with the tree cover on the valley floor.
But wooded pockets or islands remain here and there, providing habitat for birds and presumably other wildlife. That bit of habitat is lost when the trees come down.
On the other hand, there may be reasons why certain stands should go. Maybe the trees are in bad shape and threaten to fall across the road the next time it blows up a storm.
Maybe the land they occupy is needed for crop production in order to keep a particular farm economically afloat.
And then, of course, if owners want to clear some of their property, that’s their business. It’s their land to do with as they think best — and the government allows.
Casual passersby — like me in this case — have no stake in what happens to a piece of farmland. But that doesn’t mean we can’t regret a sudden change in the landscape of a valley that, over the decades, has become home. (hh)