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Rich Valcourt, Jr., standing at the left side of the photo, is explaining how the timber sale was designed.

Rich Valcourt, Jr., standing at the left side of the photo, is explaining how the timber sale was designed.

This morning we got to walk through the Kohn’s woods, looking at the results of their recent timber sale. First we heard directly from Judy and Henry about their goals for the land, including their interest in providing places for wildlife of all kinds to live and increasing the diversity of tree species on the land. Henry and Judy are especially interested in restoring American chestnuts because they used to make up about 25% of the northeast’s woods before the blight struck in the early 1900’s. The property still includes many chestnut sprouts.

Looking at an American chestnut that has the blight, and the tree has sent more sprouts up around the base.

Looking at an American chestnut that has the blight, and the tree has sent more sprouts up around the base.

The Kohn’s forester is Rich Valcourt, Jr., and he completed the management planning and timber sale details. The woods are mostly mixed oaks and white pine in the canopy. The existing seedlings and regeneration is mostly white pine. Rich discussed the soils, and how their character influences what trees grow best on the site. Currently on the side slopes there are a mix of oaks, with young white pines growing up underneath. By removing mature trees, there is more sunlight getting to the forest floor and helping the young trees to grow.

We also looked at the woods road network. The trees were moved by using a forwarder, that’s a machine that picks the trees up into the bed rather than dragging them along the ground. The roads were in good shape and didn’t show signs of erosion or excessive compaction.  The same roads will be used for future timber sales too.

20161112_104521webThank you to Henry and Judy for inviting us to see the results of their recent timber harvest, and Rich Valcourt for leading the walk. This woods walk was co-sponsored by the East Quabbin Land Trust, MassConn Sustainable Forest Partnership, Green Natural Resource Management, and the US Forest Service.

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