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​Find past newsletter articles, press releases, and other media showcasing local agriculture, placed-based education, and conservation of natural resources in Sullivan County.

A Walk in the Woods with a Forester

(Based on an interview with Jeremy Turner, Managing Forester of Meadowsend Consulting Co.)

 

Imagine you are walking along an old road in a forest when you hear a faint buzzing sound. You stop to listen and realize the sound is much louder than you thought and seems to be coming from the canopy to your right off the trail. You walk towards the sound carefully. You pass some basswood saplings and then you see it. A huge basswood, a super canopy tree, in full bloom, abuzz with so many pollinators, you can feel it. You experience this phenomena with all your senses for a while and think, this is a special place. The presence of basswoods here is an indication that the soil is enriched with calcium. You expect other special plants are growing here too. It should be preserved and enhanced.


You continue to walk on until the buzzing pollinators are just a memory and realize you have entered a red pine plantation, about 6 acres in size, probably planted in the 1930s and 40s when many farmers and landowners participated in a federal initiative to plant them as telephone pole crops. Planted red pine isn’t the best option for ecological purposes. It is better to have native species grow up. There are some red oak and maple saplings in the understory here. It might be time to cut the mature red pine and shift this area to a northern hardwood forest community.


Moving on, you come to an area that is dark and cool. You can feel the difference in temperature immediately. The canopy is covered in needles; old white pines and hemlocks shade the forest floor. The land slopes down. You follow it and see the sunshine in the distance. At the edge of this mature forest is a marsh, full of shrubs and grasses, hosts plants for caterpillars that feed birds and a diversity of other animals that live here or visit this place. In the distance, you see a large muddy spot, perhaps a moose wallowed here. The marsh tapers into a small stream that runs back into the forest. This place is special too. It cleans the water as it runs through the plant roots. It provides habitat for a myriad of species. The forest on the edges of this marsh should be protected. Perhaps it should be designated as a natural area.


You follow the small stream back on the old road, enjoying the ease of walking on mostly level ground after your foray off trail into the woods and down to the marsh. As you make your way back to your car, you consider what a good hiking trail this would make. Maybe it could be cleaned up and marked for others to enjoy. It would also be a good way to access the red pine plantation to do some group selection logging. As a community member and forester, you consider all the uses and value this property has and are ready to make plans with the owner to manage this special place over the next 10 years.



Ecological Renewal at Stowell Property

In 2018, the County hired Meadowsend Consulting Co. to develop a new 10-year forest management plan for the County Lands in Unity in collaboration with the Natural Resources Department. Jeremy Turner, Managing Forester, shared that Meadowsend’s “purpose is to further connect people to the land. It is an important responsibility and opportunity that we believe in. Helping everyone understand that every product has a story. There are many people involved.” They look forward to opportunities to talk to people about the management strategies they employ on specific properties to bring understanding to what they are doing and the importance of it. By doing this, they hope to reduce the fears of logging and concerns based on not understanding the process and impacts. It is important to understand the planning and intentional decisions that took place to create the forest management plan and put it into practice. Stewardship of natural resources is a priority.


A forestry operation was implemented early this winter, involving approximately 60 acres on the Stowell property, partially described in the narrative,. Meadowsend subcontracted a logging company that used a two machine system that reduced the impact to the soil infrastructure and left saplings behind to reestablish a northern hardwood forest. The first machine cuts, fells, and delimbs the tree, then cuts it to log length, all at the stump. The operator of the machine was very careful to minimize harm to saplings or other trees nearby. The debris from the tree not sold to market is left on the ground, scattered, or purposely put on a trail – minimizing the impact of the machine of the road tread (see picture). It buffers compaction and erosion concerns that can happen with other systems. The second machine is called a forwarder. It is on large wheels that help to distribute the weight of the logs. It has an arm that puts the logs on the machine, carries them out and sorts them. This allows for a smaller landing site, further lowering the impact of the operation.


If you would like to learn more about the management at the Stowell property and visit this special place, there will be a Stowell Walking Tour on April 27, 2024 from 10am -12pm. Contact Lionel Chute, lchute@sullivancountynh.gov.



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