Mast Tree Release

November 10, 2015 at 9:41 am

By Ryan Robicheau, Wildlife Management Section Supervisor  RyanRecently I was forwarded a picture by our Lands Management Program leader, Leigh “Eric” Hoar when we were discussing an upcoming habitat forest management project on the Vernon S. Walker WMA in Newfield.  I thought this a good opportunity to write a little about the management activities the Department undertakes to promote wildlife habitat in the State, Eric’s point in the picture is showing how he’s marked a poorly formed red maple to favor both an established white pine sapling, as well as a red oak sapling.  The removal of the red maple will enable both the pine and oak to add growth due to more light reaching them and reduced competition for other resources that may have been used by the overstory red maple.  This may seem like a small decision to remove the red maple, but our staff makes these decisions, on a tree by tree basis, many times in the course of a day and the decisions made add up over many acres. This is a typical management approach undertaken by the Department to improve forested areas for wildlife habitat.  In the future, forest composition will be improved due to favoring tree species of better form than the red maple and favoring species better suited to site conditions. From the wildlife perspective there are a couple of benefits provided by removal of the maple.  First, the short-term goal of removing the maple will produce vigorous sprouts and provide a browse food source important to deer in the winter months.  Second, the long-term goal of increasing hard mast production (think acorns!) will be enhanced.  Our management goals within the stand are consistent with both proper forest management as well as proper wildlife management…..the two can be achieved at once!