By C. Blott
To The Haldimand Press
CAYUGA—If you drive by Ruthven Park on Highway 54 you may notice a giant, old, hollow tree trunk standing in the woods near the entrance gate. It looks like someone started to take it down and will come back to finish it later, but, in fact, the job is finished! The intent is to leave the trunk standing on site, which will remain for hundreds of years to come, acting as habitat for a variety of wildlife.
Next to the rest of the trees in the woods, the great girth of the old tree is incomparable. The old trunk left at Ruthven is a hardwood that took hundreds of years to get to this size, and it is exactly what some of our rare wildlife use most often – if it is available. For example, these old tree trunks provide hollow spaces deep within their centres that our rare snakes can access and rest safe from predators. When the old trees are removed, the forest becomes hundreds of years younger and natural hollow cavities become scarce, as do the wildlife that use them.