The Forest Society is conducting a timber harvest on the north parcel of the Taves Forest (also known as Parker Hill) in Roxbury this summer. The planning for this harvest started in 2013, when staff forester Steve Junkin did a comprehensive inventory of the property and wrote a management plan outlining a schedule of activities. This inventory revealed a middle-aged forest that lacked healthy young trees. Several timber harvests were scheduled over the next 15 years, aimed at simultaneously accomplishing the following silvicultural goals: (1) increase the diversity of the forest by creating sections of healthy, young trees, (2) harvest trees of poor quality to favor those with a higher value, and (3) harvest ecologically and financially mature trees before they begin to senesce.
Much of the summer 2015 harvest is known as a “shelterwood," which removes between one-half and two-thirds of the tree canopy. Uncut trees are evenly spaced and chosen for their good health and growth form. The goal is to allow these individuals, which are assumed to be best suited to the site conditions, the ability to drop seed and successfully reproduce. If you visit the harvest, you’ll see that many red oaks were left; this valuable species grows well on the forest’s soils, and we hope this cut will further encourage its spread. With a bit of luck, the understory of this now open forest will be a tangle of raspberries and tree saplings, thriving in the partial sunlight. Once these saplings are well established, a future timber harvest will remove the remaining overstory trees, allowing the next generation full access to sun, water and nutrients.
If you would like to learn more about the planning and thought that went into this timber harvest or any others on Forest Society reservations, please contact George Frame, senior director of forestry, at firstname.lastname@example.org or Wendy Weisiger, lead forester, at email@example.com. We’re happy to talk about sustainable forestry.