Last winter, Franklin Land Trust (FLT) managed 17.5 acres of forested land at its Guyette Farm in Plainfield, MA to improve wildlife habitat. This work was funded by a Wildlife Habitat Grant from the Department of Fish and Game and was guided by the Ruffed Grouse Society, the American Woodcock Society and the Wildlife Management Institute.

The goals of this harvest were to improve forest health, and to create young forest habitat that will benefit ruffed grouse, woodcock and a host of other wildlife species. Young forest habitat is lacking throughout our region. In fact, less than .5% of young forest habitat exists within a 2-mile radius of FLT’s Guyette Farm. The rest of the landscape is developed land, open fields or closed woods.

Species such as ruffed grouse, woodcock, and songbirds like the chestnut sided warbler and white throated sparrow are in decline on a statewide scale. These birds need the food, cover and nesting grounds that the growing trees and shrubs of a young forest provide.

We are already seeing new growth springing up, providing plentiful habitat for birds and other wildlife. Within 5 years these areas will be bustling with wildlife activity. Young hardwood trees will be growing amidst shrubs and fruiting plants, and wildlife will be nesting and feeding on these young plants.

The creation of this young forest habitat compliments FLT’s ongoing management practices at the Guyette Farm, including the management of grassland and shrubland habitat, invasive plant monitoring and removal, pollinator planting, and a wildland area of mature forest.

A portion of the timber harvested will be used in the restoration and reconstruction of the old barn’s ell frame that was dismantled and stored for future raising. In Massachusetts, we import 98% of our wood products. By using wood sourced from the Guyette Farm, FLT will greatly reduce the environmental footprint of the ell. Once reconstructed, the ell will serve as an event and workshop space for FLT and the Raspberry Hill Community Garden. Any and all proceeds of this harvest will be used for the ell construction as well as ongoing management of Guyette Farm resources and infrastructure.

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