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Teaching Sustainable Forestry at Red Apple Farm

Tom Wansleben is Mount Grace's Stewardship Biologist.  He recently joined landowner Bill Rose to lead a workshop describing sustainable forestry at Red Apple Farm

Demonstrating and encouraging sound forest management is a significant part of our stewardship program at Mount Grace.  Mount Grace is recognized locally as a model working lands trust, partnering with landowners in support of sustainable forestry, and this Fall offered an opportunity to get that message out globally.

On a beautiful autumn day at Red Apple Farm in Phillipston, I co-led a field trip for the International Union of Forest Research Organizations conference, which was sponsored by the Family Forest Research Center at UMass Amherst.  The attendees, who represented 18 different countries, came to learn techniques on small woodland forestry and share best practices that can then be adapted to their own work around the world. 

The conference was planned by David Kittredge, a professor at the Department of Environmental Conservation, and Paul Catanzaro, who is the Forestry Extension Specialist at the University.  The small-scale forestry typical in southern New England can be very different from what the attendees are used to, as Kittredge explains:  “In the northeast, conservation at the landscape scale depends on the actions of individual families, often working with conservation non-profits like Mount Grace. This is a novel concept to many of our visitors, who come from countries where the landscape is dominated by public sector ownership.   We wanted to make sure our visitors had a good understanding of how conservation succeeds in our communities.”

Red Apple Farm’s working forests, protected with a conservation restriction held by Mount Grace, provided a quintessential New England landscape for the field trip participants to encounter the region’s unique natural history.  With the help of landowner Bill Rose, participants learned firsthand the challenges and opportunities that many woodland landowners in our region face and how land conservation plays an important role in keeping land forested. 

In today’s world, globalization often has a negative meaning, but here at Mount Grace the globalization of good, sustainable forest stewardship can be seen as nothing but positive.

--Tom Wansleben

Thanks to Phillipston Photographer Norm Eggert and to David Kittredge for the pictures!