Last Thursday evening over 30 people gathered to listen, learn and share information about the values of our woods. A lot of ground was covered in the hour and a half program, and we went away knowing that more woods walks and talks should be offered. Keep an eye out for those opportunities to gather and learn about our woods in the coming months!
As we went around the room people shared their questions, and here are a few of them:
- What should we do about the growing number of forest pests, like hemlock wooly adelgid or invasive plants
- Are there ways that we should be managing our woods to help with climate change? Does cutting help or hurt the climate impacts?
- Can you scale stewardship so that even a few number of acres can be managed?
- How is wildlife impacted by a harvest? Does the timing during the year matter? What if you have rare or endangered plants or animals on your land?
- Can a harvest happen and still allow recreational access?
- How can we incorporate silvopasture in the woods and still harvest?
Ron Rich shared his extensive knowledge about logging, wetlands, and the values of trees. Ron has his own timber harvesting business and is chairman of the Barre Conservation Commission. Also, Ron brought a copy of a Forest Management Plan, a Forest Cutting Plan and harvesting certificate for the audience to review.
Chris Capone, the new Mass. D.C.R. Service Forester for the region, presented an overview of the “current use” property tax programs, Chapter 61, 61A and 61B. A number of landowners were enrolled in these programs, but others were newer to the information. Local landowner Ron Higgins shared his experiences with timber harvesting on his woodlots over the years. He recalled the very first timber cutting that he witnessed on his grandfather’s land left him feeling like cutting was a real mess. “Why would anyone want to do this?” But since then, that property has been cut two additional times, each time the land recovers more quickly and the quality of the trees is improving.
This program was funded through a Landscape Scale Restoration grant from the US Forest Service, through a partnership with the MassConn Sustainable Forest Partnership and North Quabbin Regional Landscape Partnership.