Cobb Hill member and forester, Bill Stack, has been working in part of our woods this winter. His project is part of a Natural Resources Conservation Service grant that is helping defray some of the costs of forest stand improvement. Bill is thinning out some trees in order to 'release' others, especially those with potential for providing timber, enhancing aesthetics, increasing biodiversity, creating wildlife habitats, or producing fruits & seeds that nourish wildlife. Some of the trees felled will be used for firewood, others for growing shiitake mushrooms, and the rest will eventually decompose helping improve our water and soil resources in the forest. The two photographs below shows views of one small section of the six acre project, before and after the selective thinning.
Tending the forest in a community asks the forester to be teacher, naturalist, consensus-builder and listener, as well as tree expert. These few sentences from an email Bill sent round before getting to work gives a good sense of the many things a true community forester needs to keep in mind:
"Heads up if you are out this way and hear the chainsaw. If you have favorite trees that you want to keep in this area let me know. Happy to visit with you if you are out in the woods as well."