Olney Mowry Timber Harvest
Olney Mowry Timber Harvest This harvest will occur off of Peeptoad Road in Scituate. Previous operations began in 1930 when these areas were planted with white pine and red pine seedlings. Subsequent work in most of these stands occurred in the 1950’s, 1960’s, 1990’s, and 2000’s. Undesirable trees were removed in order to give the remaining trees more space to grow. Work in the 1990’s and 2000’s also focused on removing the red pine due to health issues caused by a non-native insect. These later harvests helped create conditions for abundant white pine regeneration. Harvesting often disturbs the soil and allows additional sunlight to reach the forest floor. Both of these conditions help by allowing seedlings become established.
With the larger overstory trees being over 90 years old and nearing financial maturity, this operation in some areas will start the transition to a new cohort of trees by removing a large portion of the overstory and releasing seedlings and saplings which are already established. In other areas where the reproduction is not as developed or abundant, work will be aimed at removing a lesser amount of the overstory and disturbing the soil by dragging trees (“skidding”) to allow seedlings to germinate. The remaining trees will be removed at a later date to completely release these smaller trees. Caring for the next crop of trees can then begin.
This project will also include salvaging large, dead oak trees that died from repeated gypsy moth defoliation and other environmental stressors. A number of these dead trees are located near Peeptoad Road. Removing them now will prevent them from falling in the road or on powerlines. Skidding trees will also prepare the soil which will help in establishing seedlings as the remaining live trees drop their acorns. The growth of any hardwoods that do become established will be influenced by the local deer population, since oak and other hardwoods are a preferred source of food (“browse”).
Parkers Crossing Timber Harvest
This harvest will be taking place off the Battey Meetinghouse firelane. Primary access will be the gate at the intersection of Battey Meetinghouse Road and Central Pike. It will involve 55 acres of white pine which was last thinned in 2009. This area was originally dominated by hardwoods (white pines were planted under the existing canopy in 1941-1942). The pine was released from the overtopping hardwoods about 22 years later throughout 1963-1964 when hardwoods were girdled and left in place to die or cut for cordwood.
In 2009, much of the smaller suppressed white pine that would have eventually died on their own from competition was harvested. Giving some trees more space allowed for their tops (“crowns”) to grow. Prior to the 2009 harvest, there were hardly any seedlings or saplings present due to the dense shade. While not a goal, that thinning resulted in a cover of dense white pine regeneration throughout the stand. In 2014 and again in 2015, an uncontrolled fire occurred in a portion of this stand on more than 10 acres. The ignition source of the fire was from unauthorized activities which included a campfire. With abundant white pine saplings 6-12 inches tall, the fire burned hot with tall flames killing the entire understory and overstory in this area. Some wide spaced planting of seedlings has taken place since the fires.
The upcoming harvest will be a thinning where the best trees are left to continue growing into more economically valuable products. Almost 90% of the pine to be cut is small sawtimber (16 inches in diameter or less) or cordwood that will be ground up for landscaping mulch. The work will be conducted by a local contractor with much of the material being processed in Rhode Island.
Paquette Timber Harvest
The area where threes will be collected and processed into logs (the “landing”) will be off Dorr Road in Scituate. Prior forest management in this area was in 2009 which included stands stocked with white pine, hardwoods, mixed oaks and white pine. During that harvest, many stressed and poor growing hardwoods were removed to encourage new growth. This area, containing mostly white pine, were thinned to increase the growth of the remaining trees. Many oak and sweet birch seedlings were established after this harvest.
The objectives for the 2021 harvest are to continue removing the poorer overstory oaks, crushing some of the taller faster growing sweet birch to help the smaller oak seedlings and give the white pine additional space by removing competitors.
The area to be harvested will push further east into stands dominated by oaks that were not included in 2009. The goals in these areas will be similar to the oak stands in 2009, removing many of the poorer growing trees to help establish new seedlings. Even though this area is dominated by oak, it was not overly affected by the recent gypsy moth infestation. However, many of the trees have large limbs and broken tops caused by high winds and many of these are targeted for removal.
Pine Swamp Timber Harvest
This harvest will take place in the vicinity of Brandy Brook Road with access points from Route 116 and Brandy Brook Road. The areas being harvested have all been worked on at various times in the past. Much of it was cut in 2008, however other areas were cut as recently as 2017, yet others not since 1995. Most of this harvest will be aimed at removing larger white pines to release some of the existing regeneration and establish new seedlings. Whenever working in a stand with taller and plentiful regeneration, it is difficult to protect them when cutting (“felling”) the large overstory trees. Other areas of white pine will be thinned where the work in 2008 resulted in regeneration being established. However, growth slowed quickly as the canopy closed up and limited the amount of sunlight needed for growth. Once again, this area will be thinned to keep the residual overstory trees growing at a good rate and allow more sunlight to reach the smaller (2-3 feet tall) regeneration. It is anticipated that more of this regeneration will survive as some of it should spring back after being driven over rather than breaking as bigger saplings often do. Most of the larger material will be ultimately sawed into lumber to be used in construction with the best being used for beams. The lower grade material will most likely be used for pallets. The smallest and rotted material will be processed for landscaping mulch or energy production.
Remington Timber Harvest
A white pine harvest will take place on the Remington peninsula across from Ponaganset Road in Scituate. This project is predominately a thinning aimed at giving the remaining trees more room to grow. It is a continuation of work started in the 1930's when the agricultural areas were "under-planted" (a process where seedlings and saplings are planted beneath an "overstory" of tall, mature trees). White pine, red pine and spruce were frequently under-planted beneath low quality or otherwise undesirable hardwoods. Many of these areas were released by cutting and removing the overstory hardwoods in the mid-to late 1960's. More recent thinnings have taken place in 1998 and 2009. Logs from the thinning will be trucked to a local sawmill to be processed into lumber and beams for construction. Smaller logs will be processed for use in making mulch for landscaping.
Peck Hill Timber Harvest
This harvest will take place on about 135 acres located east of Quanopaug Swamp with access for equipment being several spots along Byron Randall Road and Shun Pike. Many areas included in this harvest were thinned in 2000, and then again in 2009. With adequate soil "scarification" (disturbing the top layer of soil, so that seedlings can get their roots established) in 2009 and a good white pine cone crop, abundant pine seedlings became established and have since grown into saplings. The new saplings will benefit from the additional sunlight when some of the larger trees are removed. These removals allow sunlight to reach the floor of the forest and help the seedlings to grow. The overall goal of this kind of work is to improve the growth of the remaining trees and help to establish new seedlings.
Halls Timber Harvest
Combining thinning and regeneration treatments in different areas, this project is taking place on about 145 acres mostly on the west side of East Road (Route 116), from Byron Randall Road north to the Village of North Scituate. Areas to be worked include white pine, mixed pine hardwood, and mixed softwood comprised of white pine, red pine spruce, and some pitch pine. Many of the "conifers" (evergreens) that are being cut were planted from 1925-1930. The areas were then thinned in 1946, 1962, 2000 and 2009. Work in the southern portion of this project is aimed at releasing established saplings, creating new seedlings and improving the growing conditions for remaining trees by allowing their crowns to expand into newly created openings. Cutting along Route 116 on the northern portion will be heavier due to minimizing the number of remaining trees, which would be susceptible to wind damage and could become roadside hazards.