Forestry Goals of the 2016-2017 Mt. Monadnock Timber Harvest
The Forest Society is conducting a timber harvest on the western side of the lower slopes of Mount Monadnock. Hikers visiting the Marlboro Trail will soon notice the creation of a log landing off Shaker Farm Road, and trail signage where forestry skid trails intersect with hiking trails. Licensed forester Jeff Snitkin of Bay State Forestry is administering the harvest. The Forest Society leases the recreational aspects of Monadnock to the State of New Hampshire, which manages it as Monadnock State Park. We will be working closely with Jeff and State Park personnel to ensure the harvest is conducted in a safe and professional manner.
The goals of this timber harvest are based on an extensive inventory of the land’s natural resources, which began in the fall of 2014. About 50 acres of the harvest area contains soils that are deep and rich, and that currently support a hardwood forest of red oak, sugar maple, red maple and white ash. Trees will be cut in these areas in small groups aimed at creating conditions necessary for sugar maple and yellow birch to naturally regenerate. Upslope of this area, 15 acres of dry, shallow soils present excellent growing conditions for red oak. Harvesting in this area will be tailored to the regeneration requirements of red oak, which typically needs larger canopy openings (1-2 acres) to be successful. In both areas, the priority will be on removing trees that are either of poor quality or are ecologically and financially mature.
This entry is the first of several that will be conducted on this part of Mount Monadnock over the next couple of years. In total, about 250 acres of forest will be treated using a variety of silvicultural techniques varying from a light forest thinning to larger patch cut openings. Each technique has a specific objective based on the size, density and composition of the forest noted during the 2014 inventory. In considering this harvest, it is important to realize that the Forest Society owns more than 4,500 acres of Mount Monadnock, including its summit. Of that acreage, almost 2,800 acres have been voluntarily set aside as an “Ecological Reserve,” where the Forest Society will not conduct any timber harvests, and natural processes will be allowed to prevail. This Reserve contains the sensitive, high elevation parts of the mountain and those containing unusual plants and natural communities. The lower flanks of the mountain, with forest types that are relatively common in New Hampshire, are those which will be actively managed. Indeed, a major goal of our management of these lower areas is to conduct regular timber harvests that create patches of young forest to complement the aging forests of the Ecological Reserve.
The Forest Society has owned a part of Mount Monadnock since 1915, and we remain committed to the long-term, sustainable management of this precious and unique state resource. We are planning to hold a timber harvest tour to further educate the public about the goals and methods of responsible timber harvesting. Stay tuned!
Gabe Roxby is a field forester with the Forest Society.