Economics and Survival of Hand Planted Riparian Forest Buffers
Economics and Survival of Hand Planted Riparian Forest Buffers in West Central Maine
Maine NRCS recently conducted a case study on the survivorship and establishment costs of two riparian forest buffers planted during 2002 under the continuous CRP program in Somerset County, Maine.
A modified protocol, developed by the University of Washington and Lummi Indian Nation, was used to obtain field data in the buffers. A total of twenty-four sample plots each 1/50th of an acre in size was surveyed. Several types of information were collected including species planted, planting rate, survival rates, use of tree shelters and geotextile mats, and animal damage.
Copies of bills submitted for cost-share reimbursement were collected from NRCS field office records. Establishment budgets were constructed to itemize the various costs for materials and services. Costs were analyzed on a per acre and per plant basis.
Plant survival rates and average establishment costs were compared. Using the cost data collected, scenarios with various planting rates, numbers of tree shelters and geotextile mats, and types of site preparation were constructed to analyze tradeoffs between establishment cost and likelihood of plant survival. Recommendations were made for planting rates, the number of trees shelters and geotextile mats to be used, and site preparation. The establishment cost data will be useful as well for planning riparian forest buffers in the future, and in setting conservation program cost-share reimbursement rates.