As a child he resided in Staten Island. Bruce Kershner obtained degrees from Binghamton University and the University of Connecticut. He most recently resided in Amherst, NY with his wife Helene.
He was a renowned old growth forest authority, and has discovered almost 300 old growth forests in Eastern North American where previously no one thought they existed. These include the second tallest hardwood forest in Eastern North America, outside of the southern Appalachians New York State's oldest forest, and the largest assemblage of old growth (the Niagara River corridor). Kershner has published a dozen books including the Sierra Club Guide to Ancient Forests of the Northeast and Secret Places: Scenic Treasures of Western New York and Southern Ontario.
Bruce Kershner has won numerous awards for his environmental activism. These include 'Environmentalist of the Year' in 1987 and 1988 from the Sierra Club (Niagara Group) and the Adirondack Mountain Club, and 'Environmentalist of the Year in New York State' in 1996 from Environmental Advocates of New York. Bruce Kershner was serving as the Conservation Chair for the Buffalo Audubon Society.
Bruce Kershner led numerous ecological studies. These have included studies of the Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve, Zoar Valley, Staten Island, Allegany State Park and the Niagara Gorge. He was working on a research study for legal proceedings associated with the Kortright Hills Community Association in Guelph, Ontario.
Kershner died in February 2007, after battling esophageal cancer for a year and a half.
Effective September 4, 2008, New York State Governor David Patterson signed into law the Bruce S. Kershner Old-growth Forest Preservation and Protection Act, an amendment to existing environmental law that establishes a first in the nation definition of an Old Growth Forest, compels indefinite protection on state land and encourages acquisition by the state where the definition is satisfied on private land. (Source: Wikipedia)
Law honors area environmentalist Bruce Kershner
By Fred O. Williams
Gov. David A. Paterson has enacted a law named for Buffalo-area environmentalist Bruce Kershner that protects oldgrowth forests, a cause that Kershner championed before his death last year.
The Bruce S. Kershner Heritage Tree Preservation and Protection Act protects forests on state land that are more than 180 years old, adding them to lands in the state Nature and Historical Preserve.
A proposal to extend the protection on private land by giving tax credits to landowners was dropped from the final bill because of costs.
However, supporters said the measure is a fitting tribute to Kershner, who discovered primeval forests around Western New York, including ancient stands of trees in Zoar Valley.
“My father definitely would have been ecstatic,” said Kershner’s son Joshua, a law student in New York City. “This is the continuation of a lot of his work.”
The law bearing his father’s name ensures that future generations will be able to enjoy and study ecosystems that were in place before Columbus’ arrival, Joshua Kershner said.
State Sen. Mary Lou Rath, RWilliamsville, and Assemblyman Sam Hoyt, D-Buffalo, sponsored the measure.
“In addition to providing a link to our past, these trees represent an important part of our future,” Rath said in a statement. “From a tourism standpoint, people are attracted to these forests and the beauty and sense of wonder they inspire.”
It’s estimated that 400,000 acres of old-growth forest remain in the state, chiefly in the Adirondacks. Some were identified by Kershner, an Amherst resident whose 12 books include “The Sierra Club Guide to the Ancient Forests of the Northeast.”
While forests within some state parks already are protected, the preservation law means that no logging on state lands will touch old-growth forests, said Michael Hettler, counsel for Rath. As more ancient forests are discovered, they will be added to the protected list.
Protected forests must be at least 10 acres large and have trees of mature-forest species that are older than 180 to 200 years.
While other states have moved to protect defined areas, New York is the first to issue a blanket protection for oldgrowth forests, Hettler said. The measure also allows local governments to designate oldgrowth forests.
“As far as I’m aware, it’s the first [such] law in the country,” he said.
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