Massachusetts Forest Update

March 2018

Save the Date – Forest Alliance Annual Meeting is on May 5th!

MFA’s Annual Meeting will take place on May 5 at MA Wildlife Headquarters in Westborough.

This year’s theme is “Loving the Land” and will feature a variety of presentations and information on ways that landowners and professionals can improve and benefit from their woodlands.

The keynote address will be given by Mariko Yamasaki of the US Forest Service, whose research on wildlife and habitats is wide-ranging. She is an engaging speaker who is especially adept at explaining what the science really means both to landowners and professionals working in the woods.

More details about the meeting will be posted in the next several days.


March is Maple Month

March is the month when buckets and tubing appear on maple trees, steam billows into the sky in late afternoon and evening, and the first sweet crop of spring is produced at sugarhouses around Massachusetts. More than 300 sugaring operations in the Commonwealth turn maple sap into syrup, maple sugar, and maple candy in a 400 year old tradition. To find sugarhouses open for maple breakfasts, go to

 To learn more, see


Sign up for free Game of Logging Training

This spring, the Massachusetts Forest Trust, the Department of Conservation & Recreation, and the Tree Farm Program are holding a series of free two day Safe Chainsaw Operation workshops for landowners, Tree Farmers and others in central and western Massachusetts.  If you want to improve your skills in how to maintain and use a chainsaw safely, register for one of these workshops.

The workshops will be based on the popular Game of Logging curriculum and be taught by GOL instructor Bill Girard. Each workshop will consist of two days of instruction and cover 2 levels of the GOL curriculum.

There are four Game of Logging training levels:

Level 1 focuses on introducing the participant to open face felling and the development of techniques to safely use it.  Topics covered include personal protective equipment, chainsaw safety features, chainsaw reactive forces, bore cutting, pre-planning the fell, and understanding hinge wood strength.

Level 2 focuses on maximizing chainsaw performance through basic maintenance, carburetor setting, and filing techniques.  Limbing and bucking techniques are introduced, spring pole cutting is covered and more felling is practiced.

Level 3 focuses on techniques for handling difficult trees.  Topics covered include limbing, height measurement, segment calculations, wedging techniques and hinge placement.  The felling is done against the tree’s natural lean and participants also limb and buck using techniques demonstrated in Level II.

Level 4 focuses on ways to maximize a harvest plan for safety and productivity.  Felling is practiced at working speed using all the techniques from previous levels.  This level is geared to the capabilities of the user group.

Workshop locations and dates:

April 7 – 8                  Thompson Tree Farm – Pelham                           Levels 1 – 2

April 14 – 15              Julian Tree Farm – Warren                                    Levels 1 – 2

April 28 – 29              Fraser property – Chesterfield                              Levels 1 – 2

May 12 – 13              Maple Corner Farm – Granville*                           Levels 1 – 2

May 19 – 20              Taverntop Trust Tree Farm – Hawley*                Levels 1 – 2

June 6 – 7                 DCR – New Salem                                                     Levels 3 – 4

Workshops will run from 8 am to 3 pm.  * These workshop dates may be switched.

Participants must be 18 years of age or older and in good physical condition.  Participants taking the Levels 3 – 4 workshop must have successfully completed Levels 1 and 2 previously.  Thanks to a grant from the US Forest Service, these workshops are free, but each workshop is limited to 8 participants, so sign up early.

Please contact Greg Cox from MFA to sign up by calling (413) 339-5526 or email

These workshops are sponsored by the USDA – Forest Service and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation & Recreation. 


wood boiler
Biomass Energy Resource Ceter

MFA to hire a Wood Energy Facilitator

The Massachusetts Forest Alliance (MFA) seeks a highly motivated and independent individual to identify and work with government entities, not-for-profits, and large and small businesses which are good prospects for using wood fuels for heat and energy production.  The ideal candidate for the position will have experience identifying prospects, developing project and work plans, as well as experience working with facility managers and government entities. The applicant should have a basic understanding of renewable energy heating systems. This is a statewide position, and the successful applicant will be expected to pursue potential projects across the Commonwealth.

Familiarity with the grant and rebate programs available in Massachusetts through the Clean Energy Center and Department of Energy Resources is a plus, as are an understanding of energy credits available through the Alternative Portfolio Standard, and familiarity with the Massachusetts primary and secondary wood products industries.

The individual selected will identify and prescreen public and private prospects, and work closely with interested entities to assist them in reducing their energy costs (primarily heating) by facilitating adoption of renewable heating technologies that use wood fuels such as wood pellets, wood chips, and cordwood.  Through an understanding of available technologies and financial assistance, this person will help prospective entities to obtain feasibility studies and grants, evaluate available alternative energy credits, find qualified contractors, and source sustainably-derived fuels. The successful applicant will work with MFA staff and advisers to develop outreach and promotional materials, as well as project publicity approved by the adopting entities.

This effort is grant funded (grant already underway), and will last through April 2019.  Although not guaranteed, similar work beyond the initial period is likely to be available.  The candidate selected will operate as an independent contractor, and will set their own hours, provide their own work location and transportation, and work under the general direction of the Executive Director and the President of the Massachusetts Forest Alliance.  Average weekly hours to fulfill the responsibilities of the position are estimated to range from 25 to 40.  The contract rate will be determined commensurate with experience of the applicant.

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled, but priority will be given to resumes received on or before April 6th.  Interested candidates should send a resume, cover letter, and at least two references to Nathan L’Etoile, Executive Director of MFA at: with the words “wood energy facilitator” in the subject line.


New Tax Fact Sheet Available for Timber Income & Expenses for 2017 Tax Year

Andy Fast at the University of New Hampshire has put together a new fact sheet regarding federal taxes on timber income and expenses for the 2017 tax year. (Note: the fact sheet does not include changes made by the new tax law, which took effect only in 2018.)

The fact sheet can be downloaded by clicking on the following link:

Federal Tax Treatment of Timber Income & Expenses: Quick Reference for 2017 Tax Year


Please Help with the Tree Farm Database Update Project

If you own a Tree Farm, you should have been contacted recently about helping the American Tree Farm System update its records about your Tree Farm.  All Tree Farmers should have received a postcard from Edge Research asking them to participate in the online update of their contact information and basic information about their Tree Farm.  The postcard would list a specific code number for your Tree Farm so when you log in, the information displayed is about you and your property.

If you have not been contacted about updating your Tree Farm information, please let Greg Cox know by calling (413) 339-5526 or email


Two Cross-Laminated Timber Manufacturers to Set up Shop in Maine

Two lumber manufacturers have recently announced plans to build major factories in Maine to produce cross-laminated timber panels for the Northeast construction market, according to recent stories in the Bangor Daily News.

LignaTerra Global LLC of Charlotte, North Carolina announced plans in February to build a $30 million 300,000 square foot facility on part of the site of the former Katahdin Paper Company mill in Millinocket in July.  The facility will eventually employ 100 people and use 10 million board feet of timber in its first year, with production estimated to rise to 50 million bft over 5 years.  The facility expects to use low-grade softwoods, primarily spruce formerly used for pulp, to build the panels which are used to construct buildings between 3 and 12 stories tall.  LignaTerra panels have recently been used to build a new elementary school in West Virginia and a warehouse in Colorado.

SmartLam, LLC of Montana also announced plans to site a $22 million CLT plant in Maine this year, but hasn’t chosen a site for the facility yet. SmartLam has an existing CLT plant in Columbia Falls, Montana.

Cross Laminated Timber panels were used to construct the acclaimed Olver Design Building at UMass – Amherst.

Spectacular Use of Wood at UMass Design Building


Wood Energy News

Berlin School Keeps Warm with Pellets

The Berlin Memorial elementary school in Berlin, Mass is the latest school to convert to modern renewable wood heat.

Last summer, with help from a state grant, the school installed two new boilers fueled by wood pellets, and a bin to hold 125 tons of pellets, at the 20 year old elementary school which serves 200 students in the Berlin – Boylston Regional School District.

Cost of the project, which took two months to complete, was $323,000, of which 75 percent was paid by a grant from the Department of Energy Resources.

For more information, see


Montague Setting up Community Wood Bank

Add Montague to the list of towns which are planning to recycle waste wood through a community-based wood bank.  The wood bank project will turn logs and other waste wood from tree trimming, storm cleanup and land clearing into firewood for use by local families to heat their homes in the winter.

Wood banks are now operating in Athol and Petersham, using local volunteers to cut, split and stack the wood for eventual pickup by local residents.

DCR is now advertising for a Wood Bank Coordinator (see below) to help other communities set up and operate wood banks to recycle waste logs into firewood for needy residents.



Help Available to Mass. Farmers and Forest Land Owners Through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting applications for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), which helps farmers and forest land owners improve water quality, conserve water and energy, reduce soil erosion and sedimentation, and improve soil health, wildlife habitat, plant and animal communities.

Farmers and forest land owners may apply for financial and technical assistance through EQIP at any time throughout the year by visiting their local NRCS field office. USDA Service Center locations are listed on-line at Funding decisions are made monthly and will continue until federal fiscal year 2018 funds are exhausted. Complete applications will be ranked on the third Friday of each month. A conservation plan must be completed before an application can be considered for funding, so farmers are encouraged to call or stop by their local NRCS field office as soon as possible.

EQIP, a voluntary program authorized under the 2014 Farm Bill, provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers and forest land owners to address natural resource concerns through an array of conservation practices. General program information is available on the NRCS Massachusetts website at

EQIP can provide eligible applicants up to $450,000 over the six-year life of the Farm Bill.

Program applicants can choose to compete in any of the various funding pools, including:

  • Land use pools – cropland, pasture and hayland, farmsteads. forestland, and wildlife habitat;
  • Special initiative pools – aerial cover crops, high tunnel systems, certified or transitioning organic production, on-farm energy conservation, New England Cottontail habitat, the Palmer River Watershed water quality initiative, and third party written Conservation Activity Plans
  • Historically underserved farmer pools – Indian tribes, beginning farmers, socially disadvantaged farmers, limited resource farmers

NRCS is a federal agency that works hand-in-hand with the people of Massachusetts to improve and protect soil, water and other natural resources. The agency has offices in USDA Service Centers in Greenfield, Hadley, Holden, Pittsfield, Westford, West Wareham and West Yarmouth, which work with local conservation districts and other partners to serve farmers and landowners in their area.


2018 Arbor Day Seedling Program

The Massachusetts Tree Wardens & Foresters Association sells tree seedlings to fund its scholarship program and to promote Arbor Day and tree planting. Seedling purchasers include municipalities, garden clubs, private firms, arborists, and other interested individuals and organizations. Proceeds from the seedling sales support annual scholarships for college arboriculture students.

Seedlings may be distributed to schoolchildren and other Arbor Day participants. The seedling gifts may be part of a ceremony or presentation that promotes Arbor Day and the value of trees to people and the environment. Buyers have also used seedlings as favors at weddings and as promotional items at Earth Day activities.

The  2018 order form is now available. The seedling order deadline is April 15.

Find out more at



DCR Seeking Wood Bank Coordinator

The Department of Conservation & Recreation is seeking a full time Forestry Assistant to act as Coordinator of the Wood Bank Program. The Coordinator will assist the Utilization and Markets Program with developing and supporting community based heating assistance programs to recycle surplus forest resources into beneficial community services. This position will also assist with the fulfillment of federal grant objectives designed to increase forest landowner participation in land management operations through education and outreach.

Forestry Assistants work outdoors in all types of weather; work in isolated areas; may be exposed to the hazards of power tools and equipment such as chainsaws and hoists; and travel for job related purposes.


Minimum Entrance Requirements:

Applicants must have at least (A) one year of full-time, or equivalent part-time experience in forestry or natural resource management, or (B) any equivalent combination of the required experience and the substitutions below.


  1. An Associate’s or higher degree with a major in forestry or forestry management may be substituted for the required experience.* *Education toward such a degree will be prorated on the basis of the proportion of the requirements actually completed.

Special Requirements: Possession of a current and valid Massachusetts Class D Motor Vehicle Operator’s License.

For more information or to apply, go to


DCR Seeking Forestry Assistant for ALB Reforestation Program

The Department of Conservation & Recreation is seeking a full time seasonal Forestry Assistant for the Asian Long-horned Beetle Reforestation Program in Worcester County.  The Assistant will help prepare plans for replanting trees on public and private property in the ALB regulated area.

Duties include:

  • Meeting with homeowners to determine proper tree type(s) and location(s).
  • Interacting with private land owners to answer questions about replanting operations.
  • Supervising daily planting operations by state forest crews to ensure trees are planted according to DCR Bureau of Forestry standards.
  • Helping foresters with data collection and management to record locations of planted trees and periodically check their condition.
  • Performing related duties such as maintaining records and attending staff meetings.


 Minimum Entrance Requirements:

Applicants must have at least (A) one year of full-time, or equivalent part-time experience in forestry or natural resource management, or (B) any equivalent combination of the required experience and the substitutions below.


  1. An Associate’s or higher degree with a major in forestry or forestry management may be substituted for the required experience. Education toward such a degree will be prorated on the basis of the proportion of the requirements actually completed.

Special Requirements: Possession of a current and valid Massachusetts Class D Motor Vehicle Operator’s License.

For more information or to apply, go to


Ask an Expert

Got a nagging question?  A serious one, or a casual one?  Think that others might have that same question? Send an e-mail to our executive director with “ask an expert” in the subject, and we’ll try and identify an expert, ask them the question, and publish their answer in the next Forest Update.


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


Upcoming Programs and Training

 March 23                   Engineered Lumber Design & Construction Seminar – Natick

 March 27                   Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership – Charlemont

 March 29                   Your Woods and the Value of Trees – Belchertown

April 5                         Your Woods and the Value of Trees – Barre

April 5                         North American Birds of Prey presentation — Amherst

April 7 – 8                  Safe Chainsaw Operation Training – Pelham

April 10                      Fish Health Starts on Land – webinars

April 12 – 15              Keystone Project Training – Petersham

April 14 – 15              Safe Chainsaw Operation Training – Warren

April 21                      Project Learning Tree workshop – Lawrence

April 28 – 29              Safe Chainsaw Operation Training – Chesterfield

April 28                      Capturing Critters with Wildlife Cameras workshop – Ashfield

April 28                      Using Farm Tractors in Forestry workshop – Brookfield, NH



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