Best forestry practices tell us to protect the water of Virginia by not cutting timber within stream management zones. We give at least 50 feet, usually more. Where several streams come together this can be a fair amount of land. Our Diamond Grove farm, for example, is 178 acres. Of that 68 acres are in SMZ. For my Milwaukee friends and relatives, the comparison is Humboldt Park, which is 70 acres, or the area of about 61 football fields, not a small amount of space.
These pictures are from the Freeman farm. It is interesting because you can see the natural succession. The big trees are planted loblolly pine. They are probably 50-70 years old. Somebody planted them, probably with the intention of harvesting, but never did. The pines are the biggest trees, but notice that there are no little pines. They will not grow in the shade of their parents. This SMZ is transforming into a hardwood forest. Eventually, in this part of Virginia, it will be a forest dominated by beech and maples, with understories of things like holly & hornbeams. But it takes time for these things to arrive. The loblolly will live a few more decades and form I kind of nursery for the hardwoods. Absent disturbance, the hardwood will soon be established. Well … soon in the ecological sense, maybe around 2050.