Forestry is described as both science and art. Tree biology, forest ecology, soils, wildlife, economics, insects and diseases are part of the science. The art involves discerning the palette of the landscape, noting the natural variations even within a stand, envisioning the desired “look”, and wisely working with all the people involved.
We have been helping landowners meet their goals with their forest for over 30 years, in Vermont and nearby states. My initial training is a Forestry degree with a minor in Botany from U Maine at Orono. Ben Vicere has worked with me for eight years and brings a degree in Forestry from Unity College in Maine.
We usually start with a management plan for each forest. This is an assessment of the land, measurements of each stand and other features. It includes a map, and prescriptions for treating each area, if needed, over the next 10-15 years.But we are looking ahead 50 or 100 years. All this takes into account the particular landowner goals for income, wildlife, aesthetics and recreation. In all the northeastern states, a forest plan qualifies you for favorable property tax treatment. (See Current Use)
A plan is like an architect’s drawings, and we are forest architects. We oversee the implementation of the plan, over time, like the construction of a building. The landowner has in mind the cathedral ceiling, the broad windows, and traffic flow. We understand where the foundation and structure need to be strong, and how to make all the pieces fit together. In forestry, that involves meshing the science and art with what you have and what you would like your forest to be for the next decade and next generation. Just as a construction project does not look its best in the middle of the project, forest managment in process may be messy but the goal is the next period of growth.
In managing forestland, we have several tools. One is simply time. Tree growth is moderate but predictable. And since trees grow, the natural forest gets crowded.
Harvesting trees is the other main tool of forest management. Harvesting can take many forms and options (See the Silviculture Series in the Articles section of our site) from light thinning and weeding to heavy regeneration cuts, depending on the details of your plan. In general, we carefully culture stands with quality potential, and focus on regeneration of mature and low-quality stands to move your forest toward the “desired future condition”, while aggressively marketing your forest products to the mills.
Timber income is a dividend of your forest investment. But harvesting can also increase the growth of your best “crop trees”, or change the species of your forest to better match your site or goals. Improving access with roads or trails can be achieved, along with improving wildlife habitat by creating food, cover, and forest diversity. These are just some of the benefits of a well-managed forest.
Our experience with a broad range of owners and forest types, our knowledge of a full range of silvicultural options, and our long-term stability and perspective help us serve our clients. In addition, our close connection with a wide range of markets, logging contractors, and related professionals connects the landowner to the working landscape.
It is our passion to help landowners become informed and capable stewards of their land.