Tour Introduces Forest Management to Landowners
A group of interested landowners attended a Walk in the Woods tour on Alan Calfee’s 591-acre certified Vermont Tree Farm in Rupert on October 10. Calfee, a consulting forester and the owner of Calfee Woodlot Management, led the tour with conservation biologist Steve Hagenbuch of Vermont Audubon. The tour was hosted as part of the new Woods, Wildlife and Warblers for landowners in Bennington, Windham, Windsor and Rutland Counties, a collaborative effort between the American Forest Foundation, the Vermont Tree Farm Committee and Audubon Vermont. The program connects woodland owners with resources and professionals to better care for their woods. Vermont forests are home to some of the highest concentration of bird species breeding in the continental US, making it essential habitat for wildlife species – and small landowners an essential piece to successful conservation. Target areas on Calfee’s property were treated for invasive plants, including common buckthorn, multiflora rose and honeysuckle, all of which outcompete the native species he wants to encourage, including sugar maple stands. His forest management treatment calls for removing the worst quality trees first and thinning around the nicer trees. Another will focus on removing unhealthy clumps of trees. “As soon as the area gets sunlight in, it may encourage native growth even more. That is where the wildlife component comes in. The first two layers of the forest are where birds are most active and nesting,” says Hagenbuch. “Oaks and birch in particular host the greatest diversity of our insects which is important to the birds when they are trying to feed their young. One bird can feed over 200 insects to their young in a single day.” Coarse woody debris can also provide habitat to birds, in addition to re-building the soil, and providing insects for wildlife to forage. And as new growth of native species mature, different habitats are created to support a wider array of wildlife. To learn more, call Silvia at 802-747-7900 or go to vtwoodsandwildlife.org.