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April 14, 2009 Minutes

Page history last edited by Kristina Ferrare 12 years, 6 months ago

 

Good Forestry in the Granite State

Steering Committee Meeting

April 14, 2008

9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

TNC Offices, Concord, NH

 

Present:

Will Abbott, Forest Society, Karen Bennett, UNH Cooperative Extension, Bob Bradbury, Landvest, Emily Brunkhurst, NH Fish and Game, Phil Bryce, Fountains America, Susan Cox, USFS State and Private Forestry, Will Guinn for Ken Desmarais, Kristina Ferrare, UNH Cooperative Extension, NH Division of Forests and Lands, Geoff Jones, Private Forester, Don Kent, NH Natural Heritage Bureau, Bill Leak, USFS Northeastern Research Station, Rick Lessard, NH Timber Harvesting Council, Chris Mattrick, USFS WMNF, Will Staats, NH Fish and Game, Jasen Stock, NHTOA, Matt Tarr, UNH Cooperative Extension, Dave Tellman, NH Tree Farmer, Mariko Yamasaki, USFS Northeastern Research Station, Mark Zankel, TNC

 

Welcome

 

 

Phil called the meeting called to order at 9:05 a.m. He thanked Mark Zankel and TNC for use of the conference room.

  

Phil reminded everyone that we will review a first draft of the entire document completed by the June 18 meeting.

 

 

Review and approval minutes 

 

Committee members reviewed minutes from the March 2009 meetings 

 

March 12, 2009 minutes were approved with no changes. 

 

March 26, 2009 minutes were approved with 1 edit to the last page.

  

Phil encouraged the group to keep moving forward. As we move past the stage of discussing chapters and section, it will be even more important to capture decisions and action items in the minutes. 

 

Phil reminded the committee that the document will be edited. Karen will read and edit chapters, and there will also be a formal editorial process. Language may change. In order to keep the process smooth, Karen will be the liason between technical teams and the editor. She will facilitate discussion about whether changes meet technical team intentions. 

 

Bob suggested that some areas that absolutely should not be changed should be highlighted for the editor. Matt Tarr asked how often the editor will be changing words around. As a group, we should identify areas that need clarification and address them before they go to the editor. 

 

Karen responded that words may change during the editorial process but meaning will not change. She explained that a good editing process involves standardizing language because writing styles are different. 

 

Phil clarified that there are two stages – editing with Karen and editing with the editor. There will be a feedback loop. 

 

Mark asked if the interaction should be with the author of the chapter or the technical team. It may be easier to interact with the author. Karen agreed. The author may then decide to consult with the technical team if necessary. 

 

Chris Mattrick asked whether the author would have the opportunity read the final product one last time after final editing. Karen said yes and reminded the group that there is a public review of the draft document.

  

The steps of the editorial process are:

  

  1. Karen reviews and puts first draft together - June 18, 2009 Steering Committee Meeting
  2. Steering Committee reviews draft
  3. Changes made in consultation with technical teams and author
  4. Out for public review
  5. Changes made in consultation with tech teams and author
  6. Steering Committee review
  7. Editor
  8. Steering Committee review

  

Matt suggested that perhaps the committee could see just the changes on the final document to save time during the final review. A tool like track changes would work for this type of review. 

 

Will Guinn asked if the editor has a natural resources background. Karen said the editor has 20+ years of experience editing natural resource publications but no formal natural resource training.

 

 

Review of Draft Chapters

  

Soil Productivity 

 

Karen led the discussion on Soil Productivity. NRCS staff are on the technical team. Joe has been the principle reviewer. Joe made some changes and felt thought it was in good shape. Karen had hoped they would add more work on soil depletion with regard to biomass. The Steering Committee had identified nutrient depletion and whole tree harvesting as an issue, and not much on that subject has been added to the first edition chapter.

  

Bill Leak referred to Consideration 1 at bottom of page 3. Bill suggested that we keep this bullet. He felt that it is still an accurate statement about changes in soil nutrients over time and ongoing research efforts. 

 

Emily pointed out that the recommendations for buffers for erosion control measures and buffers to protect wildlife and habitat values will be different. We need to be aware of where these differences occur so we can qualify the recommendation clearly in the text.

  

Bob Bradbury asked if paragraph two in the Issues section of Soil Nutrients was suggesting that calcium loss was exacerbated by harvesting. There is not strong evidence of this specifically in the literature, but nutrient depletion and harvesting, specifically whole-tree harvesting, is a concern. 

 

Susan suggested that the technical team consult with Kyle Lombard regarding the discussion of soil compaction. The messages should be coordinated and cross-referenced. Kyle’s soil compaction section will be coming back to the steering committee for another review. 

 

Referring to bullet 2 under Recommended Practices, Bill felt that bole-only harvesting seemed like a severe restriction. Karen asked what qualifies as a “low-fertility soil”.  Chris Mattrick explained that on the WMNF, it is outwash soils that are shallow to bedrock.

  

Dave Tellman suggested revising the statement to say “consider bole-only harvesting”. Chris added that we have to clarify where to leave the limbs. Rick Lessard explained that even with bole-only harvesting limbing often happens on the landing. Branches and limbs may be taken back into the woods, but usually not to the spot where the tree was felled.

  

Phil suggested saying either leave the branches in the woods where the tree fell or bring the limbs back on a return trip. Chris explained that on WMNF the tops are scattered around the log landing and main skid roads, not all over the harvest unit. 

 

Geoff Jones suggested making recommendations of options in a hierarchy format, with the most ideal option first and let people choose. 

 

Phil added that we should add a Consideration on operational considerations. He asked Bill how we should advise on possible nutrient depletion associated with removing organic material from the site

 

Bill responded that although the science is not definitive, it is advisable to take precautions. 

 

Will Guinn, referring to bullet 3, asked if harvesting during leaf-off isn’t more practical.  Bill agreed that it was. Phil reiterated that there are operational limitations that people need to understand.

  

Bullet 3 under Recommended Practices will be revised to say “retain dropped leaves and nutrients on site”. 

 

Returning to the discussion on making recommendations based on order of preference, Don advised being consistent throughout the document, not just in the soil productivity chapter. 

 

For example, we could use language like, “If you want to maximize nutrient retention on site…” and follow with suggestions. 

 

Mark said that some Recommended Practices depend on management objectives and some apply to all cases of timber harvest. 

 

Geoff suggested we point out that most of the nutrients in the tree are found in  the tops and the leaves. Keeping this material in the woods is likely a positive practice. Planning a harvest in leaf-off season and lopping in the woods is good practice. Framing the discussion this way helps people understand why they are choosing a certain practice.

  

Don said we know there are conflicting recommendations from chapter to chapter. If we give choices in order of preference, people can make better decisions about what they can choose to accomplish their objectives across the board.

  

Mariko cautioned that making choices is not a linear process. There are very few absolutes and we must be cautious when stating options.

  

Jasen Stock said that notion should be explained in the introductory material – How to Use This Manual.  It should explain that choices are presented to achieve a particular goal or objective, but be aware that there may be conflicting recommendations throughout the document across objectives.

  

Matt added that we should identify what the landowner may want to accomplish then make recommendations on how to achieve this. Leave it to the professional to identify what is most appropriate with the landowner. 

 

Mariko agreed that Geoff’s recommendation about putting recommendations into context is the best way to qualify options. 

 

Bob stated that people must understand that all recommendations have a financial cost and that must be stated as well.

  

Mark pointed out that there are two issues going on in the Soil Productivity section: whether whole tree harvesting affects nutrient levels in the soil and whether it affects species composition. Mark asked if there was enough scholarship on either of these questions to make some definitive statements. 

 

Bill said it depends. Some studies show nutrient depletion is a concern. Other studies on very poor soils have shown that trees grow as well. 

 

Will Guinn asked if the literature would support a recommendation to limb trees in the woods to enhance soil nutrients. Bill replied not exactly. This has been a major concern for him on this issue. Matt suggested that this discussion should be captured in the chapter. 

 

Phil suggested we be conservative and err on the side that there is some nutrient loss associated with removing vegetation from the woods.

  

Emily reminded the group that soil builds up over hundreds of years. We have only studied a fraction of the soil creation process. 

 

Karen suggested that we give examples of low fertility soil. The group agreed that glacial outwash, shallow to bedrock soil was low fertility. Susan suggested we confirm this on the NRCS web site.

  

Bill pointed out that this is defined in section 1.1 in paragraph 5, although soils with high organic content are not low fertility (see number 2 in paragraph).

  

Phil asked if the chapter contained the most current information available as most of the references are quite old. Karen will follow up on this with the technical team. 

 

Chris suggested that Considerations should state that installing erosion control measures on roads requires ongoing maintenance. Opening roads for recreation makes them harder to maintain. Will Staats suggested that the consideration may be that recreational use may make it harder to maintain roads. Susan added that open roads and recreational use adds to the cost of maintenance. 

 

Will Staats asked to strike the parenthetical phrase “or a logical portion of it” from section 1.1 Recommended Practices, bullet three. 

 

Karen said she will follow up with Kyle Lombard regarding section 1.1 and paragraph 4. He is skeptical of freeze thaw cycles restoring the condition of compacted soil. Don pointed out that even if that is true, damage to the tree has already happened. 

 

Chris asked to change “recommended conservation mix” to “recommended seed mix. The group also noted that there are some typos in the chapter.

  

Mariko referred to Section 1.1 Recommended Practices and the restriction of equipment to permanently designated skid trails. She said that equipment changes and designation change. This recommendation may not be appropriate. Will Staats noted that this concept has not been introduced yet. So should it end up as a recommended practice? Phil said the philosophy may not apply here. 

 

Bill said there has been work by Donnelly in VT, and work in Maine by Bill Ostrofsky, on soil conditions on and off the skid trail. It may be a tree quality and tree health issue from root damage rather than a soils issue. 

 

Matt asked about using abbreviations and acronyms. What is the standard way to use them in this document? Karen suggested that each section be treated as a stand alone section. The first time an organization or other proper name appears in a section, spell out the name followed by an acronym in parenthesis. Afterwards, just use the acronym in the section. 

 

Jasen asked that we change “municipal solid-waste treatment” to “municipal waste water treatment” in Section 1.2 Considerations bullet 2. Bob Bradbury asked if municipal sludge as a soil additive has heavy metals in it that we should be concerned about. Dave Tellman said it is heavily regulated and should not be a concern in this document.

  

Karen thanked the group for their suggestions and will forward them to the technical team.

 

 

Habitat 

 

Matt Tarr facilitated the habitat section discussion. 

 

He described the revisions to Mast, Cavity Trees, Dens and Snags, and Overstory Inclusions, and Aspen Management as not major changes but additional recommendations and clarifications. 

 

Beaver Created Openings has been heavily revised. Deer Wintering Areas also has been heavily revised to serve as the management guide in the state of NH. The Down and Dead Woody Material section has been expanded.

 

Matt listed which sections are left to come to the Steering Committee. Under the Landscape Level Considerations: Woodland Raptor Nests, Heron Colonies, Bald Eagle and Osprey Nests, Bald Eagle Winter Roosting. Under Stand Level Considerations, Permanent Openings, Temporary Openings, and Food Plots were still being revised.

 

Geoff Jones asked about adding a section about bat boxes, nesting boxes and brush piles because people enjoy these things. Matt suggested that these be addressed in the Recommended Practices of the appropriate sections. Mariko said they are not an operational practice. Will Staats said if we do address these activities, people need to understand that nest boxes require maintenance.

 

 

Mast 

 

Phil asked how did this revision was different from the first edition. Matt said that the third paragraph in the Issue section was new and additional recommended practices had been added. 

 

Chris Mattrick had concerns about the third paragraph and soft mast being provided by non-native invasive plants. While invasives have a value as a food source, the paragraph perhaps sends the wrong message. It suggests that if you have invasives they may provide wildlife habitat so it is okay to keep them. Matt suggested we qualify the discussion more, but there are many questions about nutrition of these invasives. The literature does not support discouraging them on the basis of nutrition alone.

 

Chris suggested discussing it in the context of other soft mast and cross-reference to invasives chapter. Matt thought it was a logical fit with the discussion about changes in sources of mast. Will Staats said it is possible to deemphasize invasives using an organizational technique, such as the cross-reference with the invasives section.

 

Don reiterated that anything suggesting invasives are okay should not be suggested. Mariko said the reality is that invasives have nutritional value but we should continue to try to replace them with native species.

 

Phil said there should be a recommendation to go with the discussion of soft mast in the invasives section. Efforts should be focused on replacing mast-producing invasives with native species. Mariko agreed that we should support practices that encourage the regeneration of native plants.

 

Chris Mattrick said cutting the paragraph at “further” will make the statement about nutritional value and get rid of the promotional tone.

 

In bullet 5 under considerations, Mark suggested replacing “favor” native species with “plant” native species.

 

Emily said we should reference the state invasive plant RSA under Considerations. The last bullet under Considerations should be moved to Recommended Practices.

 

Karen pointed out that there are some non-native species, such as apples, that are planted regularly, and therefore the word is appropriate. Matt qualified the sentence with “favor native vs. non-native species”. There is a difference between non-native and invasive species.

 

Chris pointed out that just because non-native are not invasive today does not mean they won’t become invasive later.

 

Phil suggested including that as a recommendation. Non-natives plants with wildlife value that are not currently invasive may become invasive in the future.

 

Chris replied that the concept should be handled in the invasive plant section.

 

Phil asked about over-harvesting of mature oak may impacting mast availability. Susan said this statement may be referring back to gypsy moth. Karen said it should be noted that growth and maturity of forests adds to mast availability.

Sources and amounts of hard mast change over time.

  

Mark clarified that there are cycles that affect availability of hard mast. We need to consider that. Management can help or aggravate the problem. This should be the point we make.

 

Matt asked about providing example of cycles that affect mast production and examples of what managers can do to influence mast production.

 

Will Staats noted that there are a number of things that influence mast production. Mariko said there are places where mast is more plentiful. Because hard mast is produced periodically, the further north you go, the diversity and amount of mast lessens, and the more important the mast source gets.

 

Will Guinn noted that current literature differs from the first edition statements of ages and sizes of oak in the production of hard mast. Will will forward those papers to Matt. Matt said age is somewhat variable depending on sites. Will said we should have a reference there.

 

Geoff noted that it is important to discuss harvesting mature oak and mast availability. Most of the oak we have is from abandoned farmland. Regenerating oak requires attention to detail. Most oak stands are even-aged. The biggest threat to these stands is lack of understanding about of appropriate silvicultural prescriptions to regenerate oak. Our recommendation should be to use the right silvicultural prescription.

 

Karen said this should be dealt with in the regeneration section. Bill Leak agreed. Geoff suggested stating that bigger openings are needed. Phil said that would require a reference. Bill will follow up.

 

Regarding beech trees Will Staats suggested maintaining beech trees with old bear claw marks on them as well as new ones. Don asked if a layperson understands the relationship between beech trees and bear claw marks.

Geoff said beech trees with claw marks are historically good mast producers.

 

Under Recommended Practices, bullet 4, Susan said “crown-thin” is not a term most lay people know.

  

Mark asked if it is too early to mention chestnuts.  Will Guinn said they are breeding hybrid (blight-resistant) chestnuts now and hope to have a seed orchard in 5 or 10 years.  Dave Tellman suggested just saying that efforts are underway to restore chestnuts to the landscape. This simple statement could be added to  Issues where there is already discussion about American chestnut.

 

Will Guinn asked if there are other native species of soft mast such as apples. There are no native apples.

 

 

Cavity Trees, Dens, and Snags

  

Phil asked about cavities - is any cavity anywhere on the tree a good thing? Every cavity has wildlife value. What are the other characteristics of a good cavity tree? Emily responded that it is very species specific. Matt suggested adding a short paragraph in the Issues section to qualify the discussion of cavity trees. 

 

Mariko explained that explaining the concept of cavity trees is a big catch all for the needs of many species. It is very general. She suggested adding some landscape context. Pictures or drawings would also help.

 

Geoff thought there is an opportunity here to discuss how trees wound and how the wounds evolve into cavities.

 

Matt responded that is a lot of additional detail and explanation for the chapter.

 

Phil said the section needs to state that different species require different snags and cavity sizes.

 

Mariko said the snag-size recommendations evolved from DeGraaf and Shigo 1985; and 2) Tubbs et al 1987.

 

Phil suggested updating the reference in bullet 1 under Recommended Practices.

 

Under Considerations, bullet 6 Mark asked to delete the word “small” from the phrase “small uncut patches”.

 

Mark asked about adding a discussion on recruitment of snags and cavity trees. Snags don’t last forever.

 

Mariko explained that FIA information is specific on inventorying rough, rotten, and cull trees – there is no lack of material on forestland in NH. There is no issue at a landscape and statewide level. Smaller ownerships must grow trees large enough over time to develop into a snag tree.

 

Phil wondered if eliminating public lands from the FIA data would change that assessment. It likely would.

 

Susan reminded the group that in roadside buffers and scenic areas snag trees are hazard trees. Snags are a hazard anywhere where people are going to recreate.

 

Emily said some species are missing from table 1 and some could be deleted.

  

Mark stated that Recommended Practices explains what to do if you are lacking cavity trees but not snags. Ideally we should recommend having snags over a certain DBH.

  

Will Staats suggested stating that wildlife trees could be inventoried on the woodlot like other resources. This would cost more for the landowner but is useful information particularly is wildlife habitat is a goal.

 

Bob said on private lands much rotten or cull material go to the chipper. Girdling trees make snags. Mariko pointed out that girdling does not necessarily create the decay that is needed for cavities to develop. We need to better define what recruitment means. Let defects grow over time.

 

Geoff added that is where understanding how trees respond to wounds is helpful to the landowner. Take advantage of existing natural processes.

 

Mariko said if the inventory includes dead or dying trees as well as live trees, that is what the landowner needs to know.

 

Don asked about table 1 and the category of <8 inches and the category 6-12”. Are both categories needed? Yes, both categories are needed, and they should not be combined.

 

Referring to bullet 3 under Recommended Practices, Jasen asked to qualify the phrase “in larger cuts”. What does that mean?  Is it a landscape basis rather than an ownership basis? Also, he asked if there is a distinction between even and uneven-aged management techniques with regard to creating retention patches.

 

Phil asked if the size of the cut is related to the size of the parcel. Karen said it is.

 

Phil suggested that unless there are specific reasons to call out larger cuts, we should eliminate the phrase “in larger cuts”.  Mariko agreed. In the national forest system the largest clear cuts are 30 acres. They average 20 acres and always have retention patches.

 

Overstory Inclusions

 

 

Matt explained that this section had not substantially changed from the first edition. No new literature was added, although the DeGraaf, Yamasaki, Leak and Lanier reference will be updated to 2006.

 

There were no comments on this section.

 

 

Aspen Management

 

There were no significant revisions to this section.

 

Phil asked if there is a section on growing aspen in the silviculture section.  Susan asked whether this entire section belonged in the silviculture section. It is a tree management subject with wildlife associations.

 

Phil asked if it is significant enough to wildlife to merit placement in the wildlife section. Yes it will stay in the wildlife section.

 

Phil noted that references seem old. Geoff asked about the work of Gordon Gullian. Will Staats will add this reference.

 

Don noted that there is an inconsistency in the DBH of mature aspen in bullet 5 under Considerations compared to the cavity section.

  

Matt asked to discuss bullet one under Recommended Practices concerning regenerating aspen stands. With a small stand of aspen is it better to clearcut near the small stand or clearcut including more of the stand itself to encourage the best sprouting response. Mariko said the stand must be cut to get the best response.

 

Phil asked what percentage of the old stand should be cut.  Mariko said the discussion is about small inclusions but the principle is the same for large stands – cut some and leave some.

Matt said the paragraph is written from the perspective of how to regenerate the stand. Mariko said majority of regeneration is from root suckering. If the soil is disturbed enough during the operation, there may be some seed germination.

 

Karen asked about the statement about developing several different size classes of aspen. Matt explained that the sentence is intended to advise on creating structural diversity. Karen asked that that statement be a separate recommendation.

 

Phil advised that we explicitly state that landowners should harvest some aspen and leave some aspen.

 

Phil asked if it is true that some clones are better than other clones. Will Staats noted that good stands of aspen respond better to treatment. When an aspen is too mature it is less responsive. Phil suggested making a stronger point about this.

 

Mariko noted that aspen as a recognizable forest-type has diminished over time. Single tree selection discriminates heavily against aspen.

 

Phil asked if we needed the phrase “contact a professional forester” in bullet 3 under recommended practices. That phrase will be deleted.

 

Chris Mattrick suggested revising the last sentence in the Issue statement to say “Aspen stands are uncommon in NH”, rather than “aspen is uncommon in NH”.

 

Karen asked about the last bullet in Recommended Practices referring to “large woody debris”.  How large is “large”?  Will responded that it would be 10+ inches.

 

Mark wondered of the statement in bullet 1 “ideally remove all stems 1” and greater” may be confusing to readers. Matt will change “remove” to “cut”.

 

 

Beaver Created Openings

 

Don asked why we have a section on beaver-created opening. Matt explained that beavers are unique because they can create their own habitat and create habitat for other species as a result.

 

Mark asked if we knew the acreage of beaver habitat in NH (see paragraph 2 under Issues). Mariko added that many drainages have dams on them now. Matt has a newer reference, but the study is primarily in NYS. Phil suggested adding that reference. Matt suggested changing “New Hampshire” to “New England” in the sentence so that the reference will apply.

 

Geoff suggested stating explicitly in the Issue section, how beavers are different from other wildlife species because of their ability to mimic natural disturbance and create their own habitat.

 

Emily expressed concern over the Recommended Practice of using stone-fords for stream crossings. Stone fords interrupt stream connectivity. She will speak with John McGee about this. John is revising the streams and stream crossings section.

 

Phil thought the statement might be that stone fords are a BMP but in certain situations you may not want to use them. Those situations should be stated.

  

Jasen asked where the exemption begins and ends for agricultural and forestry exemptions for culvert sizing and submerged culverts.

 

Jasen suggested adding a consideration concerning the economic impacts of beavers. Beaver damage to trees can have an economic impact for the landowner.

  

Jasen clarified bullet 2 under considerations regarding permit requirements for beaver pipe installation. There is currently a bill in the legislature that may change the permitting requirement from NHDES.

 

Phil asked if there were more specific recommendations about the number of beavers to remove per year to maintain populations. Will Staats said usually two beavers per colony. The young will disperse. Matt talked with Eric Orff about this recommended practice. This is still current.

 

Emily asked Matt to clarify the buffer explanation in bullet 7 under Recommended Practices. Matt suggested adding a sentence that states this may conflict with other buffer recommendations in other chapters.

 

Phil reminded the group that we need to handle pointing out possible conflicting recommendations consistently throughout the document.

 

Emily asked to add heron rookeries to the Cross-References.

Deer Wintering Areas (DWAs)

 

Matt explained that this section has been completely redone and greatly expanded.

 

Emily thought the data set for mapped DWAs is incomplete and variably accurate. Some towns were not mapped, and it is not a readily available data set.

 

Will Staats thinks it is a pretty good data set. Although the GIS database is incomplete, the book is complete. It should be said that the mapping may not be accurate. Phil asked Matt to verify the data set.

 

Emily asked about bullet 4 under Considerations.  Does over-mature software stands refer to biological or financial maturity. Matt responded that he meant biological maturity. Emily asked if a landowner would understand that. This term may be a glossary entry.

 

In the same consideration Chris asked to strike “arboreal” from “arboreal lichens”.  Perhaps this also should go in the glossary. Matt said arboreal is specific.  It is the type of lichens that deer eat.

 

Regarding bullet 2 in Consideration, Phil asked if it is true that there is no legal protection for DWAs. Yes, it is true and the bullet will be left as is.

 

Geoff asked about bullet 5 under Considerations. He understood that deer go into the winter with lots of reserves. Matt responded saying winter food slows rate at which they lose stored fat and is therefore critical. Geoff thought we should discuss artificial feeding as well. Feeding deer increases browsing pressure in adjacent areas. 

 

Chris asked if deer overpopulation is appropriate to discuss here.  Matt responded that near every DWA browsing pressure is very high. Karen reminded the group that browsing is a problem in other areas (besides deer yards) as well.

  

Matt said that landowner is making the decision of whether or not to manage the deer yard. Will Staats stated that if the landowner has a deer yard and are managing for timber, you still will want them to manage the deer yard. If this is so we should make clear why this is important.

 

Mariko asked about stating the non-forestry solution. Increased (hunting) access helps remove these animals. Although this is a non-forestry solution it is part of the whole picture.

 

Phil said all of these statements are considerations.  We are not encouraging people to manage deer populations on their woodlots.

 

Jasen asked whether NH’s guide to deer wintering areas should be a stand alone document. Phil responded that he liked integration. The alternative is to write a stand alone document and refer to it in GFGS. Jasen said there is detail and specificity that may not be interesting to many readers. Can we present the basic facts and include the detail in another document?  The group agreed to keep the guide to managing DWAs in GFGS.

 

Jasen asked if a landowner has a legacy easement on their property are they obligated to manage according to this document. Matt responded that this is a guidance document to explain situations that a landowner may encounter. It addresses the common questions that come up time and again.

 

Emily responded that the landowner still has the opportunity to work with the easement holder to choose what they manage for based on their objectives.

 

Phil reminded the group that GFGS needs to be followed strictly in the Connecticut Lakes Headwater easement per condition of the easement.

 

Mariko clarified that the intent in this document is give and take. In easement documents, the language should reflect as much.

  

Phil said the stewardship plan and GFGS together inform the activities of the landowner. There is specific guidance in the first edition. Matt explained that not a lot has changed in this chapter except that more guidance is given. If anything more guidance means more flexibility. It gives landowners a lot of choice based on what they may encounter

 

Susan suggested moving bullet 9 under Considerations up the list. We also may want to add that deer travel long distances to reach a DWA.

  

Don asked if “Area Regulation” (bullet 3 Recommended Practices) is discussed in silviculture. Bill said perhaps they could work it in somewhere. Karen suggested maybe we could tuck it in somewhere. Karen suggested maybe adding area regulation to the glossary.

 

Under Forest-Type Specific recommendations, Phil asked how the silviculture recommendations for DWAs match up with spruce-fir silviculture recommendations. Bill responded that area regulation and shelterwood cuts were acceptable practices for DWAs. Bill will send an article to Matt about this.

 

Phil stressed that the more similar the recommended practices are, the more likely they are to be implemented.

 

Bill said that it is difficult to regenerate hemlock. Bill suggested recommending working with advanced regeneration. There can be hemlock in the understory  that respond well to light selection.  Hemlock can be suppressed for long periods of time and still be released successfully. Matt said he would stress advanced regeneration. Phil suggested adding the note that it is difficult to establish natural regeneration.

 

Phil asked if we should cross-reference to the Hemlock Wooly Adelgid section in Forest Health. What about balsam adelgid or spruce budworm? Perhaps keep the discussion to what landowners are more likely to encounter (i.e. HWA).

It is appropriate to cross-reference with the forest health section.

 

Bill suggested enhancing the hemlock discussion in the silviculture section.

 

The discussion about aspen regeneration will be left in the Aspen Management section.

 

Under General Recommended Practices Chris noted a conflict between bullet 10 and bullet 12. The suggestion was to revise bullet 12 to read “Route all [truck] roads and recreational trails around, rather than through, wintering areas.”

 

Geoff noted that recreational trails are permanent, while truck roads are temporary. We do not want to recommend fragmenting DWAs with long term recreational use. Bill reminded the group that deer also make use of recreational trails.

 

Bob asked how far around DWAs roads should be routed. Mariko said the DWAs do not have a hard edge. Matt said he would add a bullet explaining that long term use trails associated with recreation may be a disturbance to DWAs.

 

 

Dead and Down Woody Material

Matt explained there were no major changes to Dead and Down Woody Material.

 

Phil asked if there had been any new science since the last edition. There were several current references added to the chapter.

 

Emily asked that all instances of “debris” on the first edition chapter be replaced consistently with “material”, as in “downed woody material.” She also asked to delete the word “lower” from the last sentence in paragraph two under Issues (as in “lower organisms”.)

 

Regarding the Issue statement, Mark asked why qualify the statement with “and should be present in most if not all stands”. Karen said that there are aesthetic situations, such as a graded approach from a backyard setting to a woods setting, where landowners may not want downed woody material.  The group agreed to delete the language from the Issue statement.

  

In paragraph 2, Will Staats noted that downed logs also create denning sights for mink and otter.

 

Will Staats also suggested that we include a discussion about recruitment of dead and down material.

  

Mariko agreed that course woody material surveys are a good idea. Will agreed that, if possible, this data should be gathered during an inventory.

 

Jasen noted that slash often plays an important role in regeneration, protecting seedlings from browsing deer. Will Guinn agreed and said they are collecting data on this at Shaker State Forest.

 

Matt said these points would all make important Considerations.

Logging Aesthetics and Recreation

 

Karen led the discussion on Logging Aesthetics and Recreation. She explained that she and Geoff worked on the logging aesthetics section. Bob Spoerl and Dave Falkenham edited other sections.

 

There were no significant changes to the chapter.

 

Karen pointed out that section 6.X, logging aesthetics could be pulled into the clearcutting section as prior discussions by this group suggested.

 

Mariko commented that the section was good and to the point.

 

Don asked if there was a standard appearance in the woods, post-harvest, that we would hold as an example. Phil said it should look close to the way it looked before the harvest. Geoff added that it should look as tidy as possible in high-use areas. Bob added that if a job is well-done it will look as though there had been no activity within 5 years of the cut. Don pointed out that aesthetics are subjective.

 

Susan asked for a clear statement to help the landowner or the community understand the harvest activity. Phil agreed that a timber harvest is the occasion to communicate with the community and encourage good community relations.

  

Bill agreed that this was an educational opportunity and perhaps we should say more about this.

 

Phil commented that the section on logging aesthetics was too apologetic and defensive in tone. Mariko thought it important to say in the text that a harvest is messy, but temporary. Phil asked to present the subject more positively and explain the temporary nature of the process. Emily added that there are many benefits that happen as a result of management activities.

 

Karen added that it is both an education opportunity for landowners and neighbors.

 

Phil said he would like the following three points made:

1.      it is a temporary situation

2.      natural disturbances are ugly too

3.      a forest that looks good may not be healthy ecologically

 

Phil stress that the rhythm of disturbances in forest settings is long term, not seasonal like farming. People need to become attuned to this difference.

  

Dave Tellman said landowners harvesting for the first time need to know what to expect and how to discuss it with their neighbors. Will Guinn said the forester also needs to help the landowner communicate with their neighbors. 

 

Susan reiterated that feedback at GSD SAF indicated that foresters said they need help with community relations.

  

Phil said that the statement should be that the visual impact of a harvest may elicit a response in the community.  We need to describe what can be done to mitigate this response. 

 

Susan said often it is messy roads, from trucking, that irritates people. Timing truck traffic appropriately is important. 

 

Phil noted that this section read too much like a general forest management guide. Keep discussion to what is specific to the section. 

 

Chris suggested combining the two sections under recommended practices, “Advice for the Landowner and Forester” and “Advice for the Logger”, to shorten the section.

  

Will Staats suggested changing “soil compaction” to “rutting” in bullet 2 under Advice for the logger”.

  

Mark suggested adding a statement about signage. Signs can often make a big difference to the community. Phil suggested that go into the community relations discussion. 

 

Phil noted that there seemed to be a lot of duplication between Considerations and Recommended Practices under section 6.1. Only include qualifying information under Considerations, otherwise leave operational recommendations under Recommended Practices.

  

Emily asked if we need a “Before the Harvest: and “After the Harvest” list under Recommended Practices.  Perhaps these could be combined into one list. 

 

Under section 6.2 Truck Roads and Skid Trails, Chris asked that the discussion of gravel pits should be cross-referenced with Forest Health.

  

Emily also asked that “all-terrain vehicles” be referred to as “wheeled vehicles”. In bullet 6 under Considerations the last sentence should be revised to read “Post-harvest use of roads by all wheeled vehicles can have negative aesthetic and ecological impacts.”

  

Mariko stated that bullet 7 should say that damaged bumper trees are valuable to protect the stand during future harvests and as future cavity trees. 

 

Matt asked that under Recommended Practices, Construction and Use bullet 3, edit to say “Use merchantable timber harvested from within road clearings”.

  

Someone suggested adding sweeping roads when mud is dragged out onto the highway by trucks. 

 

Under Using on site gravel (borrow) pits, Chris Mattrick asked for a recommendation to avoid areas with invasives when locating the borrow pit.

  

Jasen asked that the phrase “putting the pit to bed” be clarified.

  

Under section 6.3 Landings, Will Guinn asked to name the section “Log Landings”.

  

Phil asked to integrate section 6.3 into Aesthetics. Karen disagreed. 

 

Don said that paragraph 2 under Issues is unclear. Phil stated that the Issue and the Objective do not match.  There is a distinction between during the operation and after the operation. 

 

Will Staats pointed out that landings can be places of unwanted recreation as well as intended recreational use.

  

Under Considerations bullet 4, Will asked to add “or preventing unwanted use” to the consideration about placement and size of the landing.

  

Matt asked to add a consideration about reusing the landing or maintaining it, and avoiding burying the chunks. 

 

Under Recommended Practices Before the Harvest, Chris asked to add selecting an invasive free location for the landing or treat it before to remove invasives.  He cautioned to stay away from an explicit recommendation to use herbicides.

  

Regarding Bullet 4 and reference to a buffer, Matt asked if we meant a no cut buffer.

  

We will continue with Section 6.4 Slash Disposal at the next meeting,

  

The meeting adjourned at 3:30 p.m.

 

 

The next meeting is May 11 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Conservation Center in Concord. 

 

Karen reminded the group that all sections that have not been through the Steering Committee at least once must be presented at the May 11 meeting. 

 

Notes submitted by Kristina Ferrare

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