junction of Old Stage & Hawley Roads
Want to see how young woodlands evolve as they regrow following a harvest or other major disturbance? If you do, plan to attend the Mass Forest Trust’s Young Forests Tour in Ashfield and Hawley on Saturday, October 13th.
The Young Forests Tour will visit two recently harvested woodlands in Ashfield and Hawley from 9 to 11 am on Saturday, October 13th. Participants will see how the woods have regrown one year after a harvest, three years after a harvest, and 20 years after a harvest, and how the habitats change as the trees grow.
The tour will start at MFT’s Marion Taylor Forest Tree Farm on Hawley Road in Ashfield where a wildlife improvement harvest in 2017 clearcut a woodland that had suffered severe damage from the 2008 ice storm. That harvest, done with assistance from Mass Wildlife’s Wildlife Habitat Improvement Program, has created a new forest with more diverse habitat for birds such as ruffed grouse, woodcock, chestnut sided warblers, eastern towhees, mourning warblers, and wildlife such as rabbits, snakes and amphibians which need the brushy diverse habitats of young forests. Participants can see the wide diversity of trees and plants that have sprouted up since the harvest a year ago.
After viewing the regrowing Taylor Forest, the tour will move over to the Taverntop Trust Tree Farm in Hawley to see the results of a regeneration harvest done in 2015 to salvage the large hardwood overstory trees damaged by the ice storm and provide conditions for a new hardwood forest. The Taverntop Trust woodlands have been owned by the greater Cox family since the 1920’s. They have been actively managed since 1975 and have been a certified Tree Farm since 1983. The 2015 harvest and subsequent post-harvest management used funding from the Natural Resource Conservation Service to keep beech sprouts from overwhelming other new seedlings.
A third stop on the tour will visit an adjacent part of the Taverntop Trust woodland where a wildlife clearcut was done in 1998 and see how it has evolved as the new trees become more mature.
Participants should meet at the Taylor Forest property at the junction of Hawley Road and Old Stage Road in Ashfield at 9 a.m. on the 13th. Participants should wear long pants, sturdy footware and bug spray. The tour will be postponed in the event of heavy rain.
For more information, see the MFA website at www.massforestalliance.net or call Greg Cox at 413 339-5526.
The Massachusetts Forest Trust is a non-profit forest conservation organization that educates landowners, loggers, foresters and others about good forest management and safety. The Forest Trust is part of the Massachusetts Forest Alliance and is the sponsor for the Tree Farm Program in Massachusetts.