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‘Young Forests Tour’ Saturday in Ashfield, Hawley


Staff Report
Wednesday, October 10, 2018

ASHFIELD — What happens to a forest after a severe storm or timber harvest?

Find out how woodlands regrow and how wildlife habitats evolve by taking a “Young Forests Tour” in Ashfield and Hawley on Saturday from 9 to 11 a.m. Those attending will see how the woods have regrown one year, three years and 20 years after a timber harvest. They will also see how the habitats change as the new forest matures.

The tour is hosted by the Massachusetts Forest Trust, a nonprofit forest conservation group that educates landowners, loggers, foresters and others about good management and safety.

The tour will begin at the Marion Taylor Forest in Ashfield, where a wildlife improvement harvest in 2017 clearcut a woodland that had been severely damaged during a 2008 ice storm. According to Greg Cox, program director of Massachusetts Forest Alliance, that harvest was done with assistance from the Massachusetts Wildlife Habitat Improvement Program to create a new forest with more diverse habitat for birds, such as ruffed grouse, woodcock, chestnut-sided warblers, eastern towhees, mourning warblers and wildlife that need the brushy, diverse habitat of young forests, including rabbits, snakes and amphibians.

Afterward, the tour will move to the Taverntop Trust Tree Farm in Hawley to view the results of a regeneration harvest in 2015, intended to salvage large hardwood trees damaged by the ice storm. The Taverntop Trust woodlands have been owned by the Cox family since the 1920s, and actively managed since 1975. The land has been a certified Tree Farm since 1983.

A third portion of the tour is to an adjacent woodland, where a wildlife clearcut was done in 1998.

Participants should meet at the Taylor Forest property at the junction of Hawley Road and Old Stage Road in Ashfield at 9 a.m. Wear long pants, sturdy footwear and bring bug spray. If there is heavy rain, the tour will be postponed.

For more information, visit: www.massforestalliance.net or call Greg Cox at 413-339-5526.