The Andrews Community Forest Demonstrates Modern, Responsible Forest Management

12 August 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 12, 2020

Vermont Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation

 

Contact: 

Ethan Tapper, Chittenden County Forester

Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation | Agency of Natural Resources

(802) 585-9099, Ethan.tapper@vermont.gov

The Andrews Community Forest Demonstrates Modern, Responsible Forest Management:

Public invited to learn about ecological forestry

Forest management at the Andrews Community Forest (ACF) in Richmond will commence in August. The ACF is a 428-acre town forest, acquired and conserved by the Town of Richmond in 2018 with assistance from the Vermont Land Trust and protected with a conservation easement held by the Vermont Land Trust and the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board. Management at the ACF will be administered by Chittenden County Forester Ethan Tapper, working in concert with the Richmond Town Forest Committee.

A major objective of the project is to provide opportunities for the public to learn about forest management in an open, transparent and inclusive way. Numerous educational opportunities will be provided for the public to see the work being done at the ACF and to engage with it. Initially, these will be virtual, although they will transition to in-person opportunities as soon as state recommendations allow.

  • A virtual learning series will provide opportunities for the public to learn from experts in different areas of forests, forest management, wildlife and ecology, and how these topics apply to the work at the ACF. This event series began in mid-July and will carry on through the fall and winter. The next opportunity will be a virtual question and answer session with Tapper at the Richmond Town Forest Committee’s meeting on August 24. All of these virtual learning opportunities can be accessed at any time on the Chittenden County Forester’s YouTube Channel.
  • Until August 20 the public will have a chance to take a self-guided tour through the planned management area and ask questions about the trees marked to be cut. This area is depicted on a PDF “marking map” that the public can navigate using the free smart phone app “Avenza.” The map and instructions can be found on the Richmond Town Forest page of the Town’s website (see link below).
  • Follow along by watching regular short videos updating the public on the progress of the project, via the “Andrews Community Forest” Playlist on the Chittenden County Forester’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AanLRDAm3UE&list=PLWk3DKdWmNIb5VOql7MqxJ09GqXg0kPVl .
  • There will be other opportunities to show the progress of the project, including capturing periodic aerial photos of the job and establishing “photo posts” where you can take pictures of an area from a common vantage point to see how it changes over time.

The work at the ACF will demonstrate a type of forest management called “ecological forestry.” Ecological forestry uses the harvesting of trees to emulate natural disturbances and to encourage the development of complex, diverse and healthy forests. Among the benefits of this type of forestry is the creation of great habitat for a wide range of Vermont’s wildlife species, helping forests be more resilient and adaptive in a changing climate, and helping Vermont’s relatively young forests more quickly develop characteristics of old growth forests.

This operation will also showcase Vermont’s working landscape and the sustainable production of local, renewable resources. Income from the operation will be used to improve the ACF’s recreational and educational offerings, and pay for important stewardship activities like controlling invasive plants. The Town will also be exploring creative ways to use the wood harvested from the site locally, like using some of the firewood harvested from the job to establish a local “firewood bank,” providing heat for community members in need.

Finally, this project will highlight collaboration between the ACF and two adjacent parcels of conserved land. The 1709-acre Prelco, Inc. property is the largest privately-owned parcel in Chittenden County, with a half-century-long history of responsible forest management, and is conserved with a Forest Legacy conservation easement held by the Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation. The Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (VYCC) owns an adjacent 399-acre piece of land which is managed for agriculture, conservation education, and youth development, the majority of which is subject to a conservation easement held by the Richmond Land Trust. The VYCC and Prelco properties and the ACF are all within the area of the Chittenden County Uplands project which, beginning around 1990, has conserved roughly 8,000 acres of land in Richmond, Bolton and Jericho. These three properties will seek opportunities for cross-property collaboration, including engaging with VYCC’s educational programming and local tech centers.

The forest management at the ACF will be executed in accordance with the ACF’s Management Plan, adopted by the Richmond Select Board in 2018, and Forest Management Plan, adopted in 2019. You can read both of these documents on the Town of Richmond’s Website at: http://www.richmondvt.gov/boards-minutes/conservation-commission/richmond-town-forest/.

You can learn more about these and future learning opportunities at the Andrews Community Forest by contacting the Chittenden County Forester at ethan.tapper@vermont.gov or (802)-585-9099 and the Richmond Town Forest Committee at richmondtownforest@gmail.com .

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