Massachusetts Forest Update
September 2017

Mass Town Forest Conference in Sheffield on September 23rd

The Town of Sheffield, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation & Recreation, the Sheffield Land Trust and MFA will host the 2017 Massachusetts Town Forests Conference at Sheffield Town Park on Saturday, September 23rd from 9:30 am to 4 pm.

The event will include several tours, visits to wood-using businesses, and demonstrations of portable sawmills, woodworking and timber framing. Tours will highlight sustainable forest management, timber harvesting, wildlife habitat management, invasive plant control, trail creation, and modern wood heating systems.

Lunch and light refreshments will be provided. There will also be a beer tasting sponsored by Big Elm Brewing of Sheffield.


9:30 – 10 am                Registration
10 am – Noon              Morning Tours – Floodplain forest restoration project (Trustees of Reservations); OR, Berkshire Products hardwood lumber facility and                                               visit to Southern Berkshire Regional School’s new pellet boiler
Noon – 1:30 pm            Lunch and visit vendors
1:30 – 3:30 pm            Afternoon tours – Sheffield Town Forest tour or Timber Frame & Band sawmill demonstration of building Model Timber Frame and new                                               home using a timber frame
3:30 pm                         Wrap-up and Beer tasting

For more info about this event, go to:

To pre-register, go to:

Please register by 5PM on September 20, 2017. Walk-ins are welcome for the day of the event, but note that any extra (if any) tour spots or lunches, will be on a first come first served basis.

DCR contact: Tom Ryan at 413 784-1828 x1243 or email


Upgrade Your Woodstove Through the Woodstove Change-out Program
Deadline Extended to September 25th

Got an older woodstove that you’d like to replace with a newer, cleaner, more efficient model? If you do, now’s the time to check out the state’s 2017 Woodstove Change-out Program.

The Baker-Polito Adminstration has provided $450,000 for the 2017 Commonwealth Woodstove Change-out Program to help homeowners replace older, more polluting woodstoves with cleaner burning, more efficient stoves. Homeowners who buy new EPA-certified clean burning woodstoves through the program can get between $500 and $1,750 to help with the cost, and between $1,500 and $3,000 if they qualify as low-income. Either woodstoves or pellet stoves can qualify for the cost assistance, provided they meet the EPA standards.

Information about the Woodstove Change-Out Program can be found online at The Woodstove Change-out Program is administered by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center with assistance from the Department of Environmental Protection and Department of Energy Resources. Since 2012, the program has helped homeowners replace 1,400 woodstoves statewide.

EPA-certified stoves require one-third less wood on average than older models to produce the same amount of heat, while releasing 70 to 90 percent less particulate matter, which has been shown to exacerbate health conditions like asthma, heart disease and lung cancer. Residents installing new stoves can expect to save an average of $5,000 over the lifetime of the stove. Each woodstove switched out for a newer model is equivalent to eliminating the particulate emissions from five old diesel trucks.

While the majority of program participants purchase new woodstoves, over 40 percent opted for pellet stoves in 2016. In addition to burning very cleanly, these modern appliances automatically feed fuel into the fire, and many have built-in thermostats that allow owners to adjust the room temperature just as they can with central heating systems.

To qualify for a rebate, a resident must have an operational, non-EPA-certified woodstove. To apply, the resident should visit a participating woodstove retailer or contact a participating stove professional such as a chimney sweep, who will handle the rebate application process on the residents’ behalf. Residents can find a local participating woodstove professional by viewing the list of woodstove dealers<> who have registered to participate.

Rebate applications will be accepted until September 25, 2017.


Chapter 61A Applications Due October 1st

Landowners who want to put land under or keep land under Chapter 61A must complete and file the required paperwork with the local Board of Assessors prior to October 1 in order to maintain Chapter 61A status.

The forms required are:

Property owner’s acknowledgement of rights and obligations:



Bioenergy Day Tour in Ashfield October 18th

The Massachusetts Statewide Wood Energy Team (SWET) will hold a tour of a new pellet heating installation in Ashfield and a nearby wildlife habitat harvest site on Bioenergy Day, Wednesday October 18th.

The tour will visit the new $300,000 pellet heating system at Sanderson Academy which has been funded by a SAPHIRE grant from the Department of Energy Resources. Installation of the system is ongoing with completion expected in late November. A similar system at the Hawlemont Regional School in Charlemont last year provided first year savings of $17,000, reducing the school’s oil consumption from 13,000 gallons to just 600.

Following the visit to Sanderson, the tour will visit MFA’s Taylor Forest where 30 acres of low value ice-damaged woodlands were harvested last winter with help from a grant from Mass Wildlife to create early successional habitat for threatened birds and other wildlife. The tour will then view another woodland nearby where a similar harvest was held in 2004 to see how the forest has regrown.

The tour will begin at Sanderson Academy on Route 116 at 10 am and wrap up by about noon.

For information about the Bioenergy Day tour, see the MFA website:


2017 Trail Building and Stewardship Training Series

Mass Audubon, in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (MA DCR), is sponsoring the second annual trail building and stewardship training series for Massachusetts land managers, conservation professional and volunteer trail stewards.

The Trail Building and Stewardship Training Series is a technical skills training available to all conservation professional and volunteers in Massachusetts at a low cost course tuition of $25 per person per day. Participants will learn safe, effective and ecologically focused trail design and construction techniques from trail building professionals, certified chainsaw instructors, and Mass Audubon staff.

Participants will learn how to design and construct two foot bridges for a variety of trail users; how to design, build and construct a series of re-routed trail; how to build stone stair cases, as well as how to cut and shape stone; and how safely and effectively use a chainsaw to remove storm damage and cut back leaning trees through Game of Logging Level 3. Additionally, participants will gain hands-on practical experience in trail stewardship and safety practices, build a network within the Massachusetts trail stewardship community, and become a resource for designing and maintaining public trails across the Commonwealth.

For more information, see

Forest Health:

How Much did the Gypsy Moths Eat This Year? One Million Acres of Leaves

If you thought there were a lot of gypsy moth caterpillars feeding on leaves this spring – you were right.

State aerial surveys have shown that the voracious caterpillars defoliated nearly 1/3 of Massachusetts’ 3 million acres of woodlands before the caterpillar population finally crashed in late June – the worst defoliation since 1981 when gypsy moths defoliated 2 million acres of trees. Areas hardest hit included southeastern Mass., Worcester County and eastern Hampden and Hampshire counties.

The good news is that the wet conditions this spring resulted in rapid spread of the caterpillar killing fungus, Entomophaga maimaiga, which needs moist conditions to thrive. The E. maimaiga fungus had kept gypsy moth populations in check for more than 30 years until 2 years ago when extremely dry conditions prevented it from spreading to kill the caterpillars.

Due to high caterpillar mortality from the fungus, the population of female moths was reduced significantly. The hope is that a drop in the number of eggs and egg masses will translate to reduced defoliation next year.


Asian Long-horned Beetle Counts Decline Again

The good news from Worcester County concerning the infestation of the destructive Asian long-horned beetles (ALB) is that no adult beetles were found in 2016 or by August 1, 2017. Also, fewer ALB-infested trees have been found in 2017 than in 2016, and the number of ALB-infested trees discovered has steadily declined for 5 years.

Worcester County has been the site of the largest ALB infestation in the United States, since the shiny black beetles with black and white antennae were first discovered here in 2008. More than 35,000 ALB-infested trees have had to be removed and chipped up to control the infestation.

The bad news is that 54 more ALB-infested trees have been discovered this year: 53 in Boylston and 1 in West Boylston. A 110 square mile area of Worcester County is under federal quarantine due to ALBs, including all of Worcester, West Boylston, Boylston and Shrewsbury, and part of Holden and Auburn.


Emerald Ash Borer Puts North American Ash Trees on Critically Endangered List

An environmental group has warned that five species of ash trees in the eastern U.S. could become functionally extinct due to attacks by the highly invasive destructive emerald ash borers (EABs).

A report issued by the International Union of Conservation of Nature warns that millions of ash trees have already been killed by EABs, which are found in 30 states, including Massachusetts, and total tree losses could reach as high as 8 billion ash trees.

The shiny green beetles lay eggs on a tree’s bark. When larvae hatch, they tunnel around the outside living tissue of the trees, girdling them and causing their death in just 3 or 4 years. The most common ash species affected in Massachusetts is white ash, but EAB also kills green, blue, black, and pumpkin ash as well.


Massachusetts Big Tree Registry

Got a really large tree in your neighborhood and wonder if it’s a record? Here’s a way you can find out. The Department of Conservation and Recreation Forest Health Program formally recognizes the largest known tree of each species growing in the state with the Massachusetts Big Tree Registry.

This database tracks the current Big Trees (champion trees) in our state using a point system. Measurement of circumference, height and average spread of the crown contribute to a big tree point rating system. Within each species, the tree with the highest number of big tree points is considered the champion. Participation is strongly encouraged.

To view the current Big Tree list, go to Massachusetts Champion Tree List

If you think a local tree might be a state Champion, let the Forest Health program know about it by filing a Champion Tree nomination form. Nomination forms can be downloaded at



DCR Seeking Contractor to Update Forest Legacy Program Documentation

The Forest Legacy Program provides federal grant funding to protect environmentally important forestland from conversion to non-forest uses. In Massachusetts, the Forest Legacy Program is managed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) in cooperation with the US Forest Service (USFS). Since joining the program in 1993, Massachusetts Forest Legacy Program has protected more than 16,000 acres of forest land on more than 100 properties.

DCR is advertising for an outside contractor to update and adapt the existing Massachusetts Forest Legacy Program Assessment of Need (AON) and Amendments. The AON includes information that documents and supports:
 The need for a Forest Legacy Program in the Commonwealth
 Delineation of forest areas meeting the eligibility requirements for designation as Forest Legacy Areas
 Areas recommended to the USFS for inclusion in the Forest Legacy Program

These services will include resource analysis, natural resources planning, GIS mapping, and solicitation of public support for the Forest Legacy Program.

DCR has posted a new Bid Solicitation for this Assessment of Need on the COMMBUYS website: BID SOLICITATION NUMBER: BD-18-1020-DCRCU-DC250-19875 BID SOLICITATION DESCRIPTION: RFR DCR 756 Forest Legacy Program Assessment of Need BID SOLICITATION OPENING DATE will be 09/27/2017 at noon.

For more information about this solicitation:

1. Go to
2. Select the “Contract & Bid Search” link and on the next page Select “Bids”
3. Enter the Bid # listed above in the Bid# field and select the “Find It” button
4. In the Results section, select the Bid# hyperlink to open and view the bid record

For information about the Forest Legacy Program, contact Lindsay Nystrom at (508)792-7714 Ext. 114

Is Your Business Prepared for the new ELD Requirements?

The Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Rule applies to most motor carriers and drivers who are required to keep records of duty status (RODS). This includes commercial buses as well as trucks. It applies to drivers domiciled in Canada and Mexico, unless they qualify for an exception to the rule.

An ELD is technology that automatically records a driver’s driving time and other hours-of-service (HOS) data. This allows easier, more accurate HOS recordkeeping. An ELD monitors a vehicle’s engine to capture data on whether the engine is running, whether the vehicle is moving, miles driven, and duration of engine operation (engine hours). During the first phase of the ELD rule, law enforcement can review a driver’s hours of service by viewing the ELD’s display screen or from an ELD printout.

ELD Rule Implementation

All carriers and drivers subject to the ELD rule must use either an ELD or an AOBRD (automatic on-board recording devices compliant with existing regulations) by December 18, 2017. AOBRDs may be used until December 16, 2019, if the devices were put into use before December 18, 2017. Starting December 16, 2019, all carriers and drivers subject to the rule must use ELDs. ELDs must have the capability of either telematic data transfer or local transfer.

Exceptions to the ELD Rule

The ELD Rule provides exemptions in a number of cases. The rule currently exempts:
 Drivers who use paper logs no more than 8 days during any 30-day period.
 Driveaway-towaway drivers (transporting a vehicle for sale, lease, or repair), provided the vehicle driven is part of the shipment or the vehicle being transported is a motor home or recreational vehicle trailer.
 Drivers of vehicles manufactured before model year 2000.
 Hauling of agricultural commodities & supplies within 150 mile radius (see eldshours-service-and-agriculture-exemptions.pdf)

For more information about the ELD Rule, see


Value Added Producer Grant Application Period Open

If you are considering a new venture that will add value to an agricultural or forestry product, you may want to consider applying for a USDA Value-Added Producer Grant.

Value-added Producer grants are aimed at helping producers of agricultural or forestry products enter into processing or marketing value-added agricultural products. A maple producer, for example, might get a grant to better market his syrup or other products.

Two types of grants are available: Planning grants of up to $75,000 to determine the viability of a value-added venture, or a working capital grant of up to $250,000 for operational costs directly related to the processing or marketing of the value-added product. Both grants require a match equal or greater than the grant amount.

For more information about the grants, see the VAPG website at

The deadline for application is January 31, 2018.

For more information, contact Christine Kimball at Rural Development in Amherst at (413) 253-4329 or email


MFA Forest Update: Now accepting ads, both graphic and text ! Contact MFA to learn more, or place your ad.


Upcoming Programs and Training

September 20                  Increasing Forest Resiliency — webinars

September 21                  Fire Resistance Design for Mass Timber Construction — webinar

September 23                 Massachusetts Town Forest Conference – Sheffield

September 23                 Project Learning Tree workshop – North Easton

September 23                 Chainsaw Use & Safety Training – Boston

September 26                 Western Mass Tree Wardens Dinner – Northampton

September 28                 Forest Management Effects on Carbon workshop — Colrain

September 29-Oct 1      Horse Logging workshop & Forest Management – Cornish, NH

September 30                 Working Forests for Birds & Climate Change workshop – Hanson

September 30                 Woods Walk – West Brookfield


October 6                         Regeneration Harvesting in a Challenging Environment workshop — Leyden

October 6 – 7                  Trail Building workshop – Easthampton

October 7                         Hull Forest Products Sawmill Tour – Pomfret Center, CT

October 10                      Maple Syrup Beginners – webinar

October 13 – 14              Tree Steward Training — Petersham

October 14                       Sugarbush Management workshop – Ashfield

October 14                       Wood Bank Workbee — Petersham

October 18                       BioEnergy Day tour — Ashfield

October 20 – 21              Building with Stone workshop — Plainfield

October 22                       Steerage Rock Forest Tour — Brimfield

October 24                       Hydronics for High Efficiency Biomass Boilers workshop – Glens Falls, NY

October 28                       Wildlife Habitat & Recreational Trails Tour – Spencer


Additional information about these and other events will be posted at as information becomes available