Massachusetts: Emergency ecological restoration project for Correllus State Forest

It’s always fascinating when ecological restoration becomes such a
dire emergency that there is no longer time for a deliberative and
thoughtful long-term scientifically peer-reviewed planning process.
And instead in just a matter of a month or two big plans with little
ecological merit are approved. This particular plan is not about
allowing the forest to be restored to a natural ecologic balance of
all ages and classes of trees both living and dead. Rather this
fake-eco-think is akin to an urban landscaper removing all the
unsightly dead wood because it just doesn’t look pretty enough. In
truth the more standing deadwood you remove, the more unhealthy the
forest will become! –Editor, Forest Policy Research

The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR)
announced that work would begin next week to remove dead and dying red
pines from about 110 acres of the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest.

The work is part of a three-year, 237-acre “emergency ecological
restoration project,” said DCR spokesman Wendy Fox in a press release.
The project is intended to restore native trees such as pitch pine and
scrub oak and reduce wildfire risks and public safety hazards. DCR is
an agency of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
that oversees 450,000 acres of parks and forests, beaches, bike
trails, watersheds, and dams, in addition to 278 bridges and miles of
roadways. The 5,100-acre State Forest is located in the geographical
center of the Island. Another 117 acres will be addressed in fiscal
years 2010 and 2011. DCR recently awarded a contract to R.J. Cobb Land
Clearing Inc. of Bellingham to remove the dead trees.

The entire cost
of the $240,000 contract will be funded through a U.S. Forest Service
grant. The company will convert the wood to mulch for use on Martha’s
Vineyard. “The need to manage fuels and restore ecological conditions
within the State Forest is important to the Commonwealth and to
Martha’s Vineyard,” said DCR Commissioner Richard K. Sullivan Jr. “DCR
has made much progress and we hope to continue making progress with
the support of the Martha’s Vineyard community.” The work is expected
to take about two months. It will center on the State Forest
headquarters building, disc golf course, bike trails and areas close
to Martha’s Vineyard Airport. DCR’s Bureau of Forestry surveyed the
red pines and determined which will be removed, based on public safety
and potential wildfire risks. Not all the dead trees will be removed;
areas where scattered dead trees pose minimal risk will not be
affected, according to DCR. The red pines found in the State Forest
are not native to the Island. The pines were planted during previous
conservation efforts, beginning in the 1930s. Originally, the state
had planned to produce lumber from the pine plantations, but with no
clear management, the trees remained uncut, and over the years they
began to compete for space with the smaller, native species, including
the scrub oak. In 2004, a disease known as Diplodia pinea infested the
forest and killed more than 300 acres of red pine.

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Comments (1)

Tim Simmons, Restoration EcologistJanuary 15th, 2009 at 12:26 pm

Call me if you want to understand the Correllus Forest, home to the greatest number of listed species/acre in the Commonwealth. 508 389-6325

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