Latest news from the Massachusetts Forest Alliance

Members’ Actions gets Working Forest Initiative Funding Restored

Thanks to quick action by MFA members and cooperating organizations, proposed cuts in funding for the Working Forest Initiative have been restored in the state’s capital budget for the fiscal year that began July 1st.

In June, despite strong support from the Department of Conservation and Recreation as well as the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, the proposed 2017 state capital budget included no funding for the Working Forest Initiative which includes the Forest Stewardship program and the Foresters for the Birds Initiative. The 2016 budget included $500,000 for those programs. (more…)

75th Anniversary Tree Farm Tour in Belchertown August 31st

W.D. Cowls, Inc. and the Massachusetts Tree Farm Program are hosting a Tree Farm tour at Cowls’ Great Hills Forest in Belchertown to commemorate the American Tree Farm System’s 75th anniversary, and Cowls’ 275th anniversary on Wednesday, August 31st, from 5:15 pm to 7:15 pm.

Cowls’ forester Jacob Macko will lead the tour of the 300-acre Great Hills Forest to show recent even-aged oak and hardwood management.  The tour will also examine recent gypsy moth defoliation, long-term forest management options, and the Best Management Practices Cowls has used to protect streams and wetlands on the property. (more…)

2016 Legislative Update

By Nathan L’Etoile, Executive Director

With the wrap of formal sessions in the legislature, it’s a great time to update our members on the status of many of our policy items.  We had some victories, and while we didn’t have any losses, we are still working on a few items.  Member participation has been crucial on a couple of these items, and without your help, we couldn’t have been so successful!

Working Forest Initiative Funding:   FUNDING FULLY RESTORED  thanks to member efforts and support from DCR and EOEA
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2016 Tree Farm Field Day at Flat Brook Farm in Ware September 17th

The 2016 Massachusetts Tree Farm Field Day will be held at Byron & Nancy Stutzman’s  Flat Brook Tree Farm in Ware on Saturday, September 17th, from 9 am to 4 pm.

The Stutzman’s 540 acre property includes a wide variety of habitats and forest types.  A morning tour led by Byron Stutzman and forester Scott Gerrish will show how they have managed the woodlands in recent years to remove lower quality trees to promote regeneration and diversify wildlife habitats.  They have also done extensive work to reduce populations of invasive plants and clean up environmental damage from a prior owner. (more…)

What is a SWET and Why is Important to Massachusetts Forests?

The Massachusetts Statewide Wood Energy Team (SWET) has been formed to identify and assist in the evaluation and development of promising renewable wood energy opportunities at all scales: residential, municipal, institutional, and commercial. The US Forest Service created the SWET Initiative to encourage the use of renewable wood energy to stimulate rural economic development, increase energy self-reliance, and, in some areas, reduce the risk of wildfire. About 20 states currently participate in the SWET program.  The Forest Alliance, working with other organizations, has received a three-year SWET grant from the Forest Service. 

The Massachusetts SWET promotes the use of modern, clean, and efficient wood energy technology to replace fossil fuel systems for heating buildings and businesses.  Increasing the use of wood fuels for heat can reduce energy costs, create rural jobs, improve management of  woodlands, and keep more fuel dollars in the local economy.  Reducing the use of imported fossil fuels, such as heating oil and propane, can aid in the effort to reduce greenhouse gases from fuels that are not part of the natural carbon cycle. (more…)