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NRCS Helps Forest Land Owners Sustainably Manage Their Land

The Mudd Family Partnership, which is comprised of 30 family members, owns an exceptional tract of forestland in Albany and Madison NH in the heart of Carroll County. This 600 acres has a mile of frontage on Whitton Pond and a variety of unique natural habitats and endangered plant species. Approximately 12 years ago this parcel caught the interest of The Nature Conservancy (TNC), who has since secured an easement on the entire parcel. Half of this parcel has easement restrictions known as “forever wild”, where the most unique habitats and all the endangered and rare species are located. The other 300 hundred acres has what is termed a “working forest easement”.

TNC has written a comprehensive plan for the management of the working forest which has been used as a basis for a contract with NRCS. The management objectives for the working forest portion of the property coincide with Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) practices and formed the basis of a contract with the NRCS. The practices in the contract include 150 acres of forest stand improvement, forest trails, access control, tree and shrub planting, and bird nesting boxes.

A previous logging operation left a residual understory composed primarily of beech. This prevented more desirable species, such as white pine and oak, from regenerating. The 150 acres of forest stand improvement allows more sunlight to penetrate to the ground which fosters species germination in place of the beech. The forest trail construction has allowed access to the property for this work. The tree and shrub plantings increase the overall diversity of vegetation on the parcel. These native species were specifically chosen by landowner Ted Chapman, who has an extensive knowledge of botany, to produce both soft mast and hard mast such as berries and nuts, which provide a great food source for a myriad of wildlife species. Care has also been taken to choose grass and forb species to seed the forest trail that will not only provide erosion control, but wildlife food as well. The bird nesting boxes were placed at the edge of Whitton Pond and were quickly occupied by tree swallows, one of which entered the box over the shoulder of Ted Chapman as he was installing it. Forester Megan Henderson single-handedly took on the large task of the 150 acres of forest stand improvement practice, which largely included clearing beech trees in the understory, with a brush saw.

The Mudd Family is very pleased with the results of this NRCS contract and looks forward to using their property for years to come, thanks to the increased access to the property provided under this contract. They will also reap the benefits of a forest with greater species diversity, better wildlife habitat, and increased timber value.

Nels Liljedahl, NRCS District Conservationist said, "the practices the NRCS has to offer forest land owners are numerous and designed to help them understand how to manage their land in an ecologically sustainable way".

Watch the video of this project.

 Forest undergrowth  Nels and Ted Chapman
 Stream on the Property Ted Chapman, land owner and Nels Liljedahl, District Conservationist
 Ted Chapman  Nels Ted and Megan
 Ted showing new growth trees Nels, Ted and Megan Henderson, Forester and TSP observing new growth
 large healthy tree  New Forest Growth
Beech trees removed to allow better timber to be healthier  New growth
 Stream in Forest  Nels Megan Ted
 Understory growth after beech is cleared  Megan, Ted and Nels observing new growth
 Image of Forest Practice  Access Gate
 Bird house wildlife practice Access gate and forest trail practices.