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MOF&G Cover Fall 1999


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 Low Impact Forestry Program Enhances Fair and Fairgrounds Minimize

Low Impact Forestry Program Enhances Fair and Fairgrounds
Barbara Brusila – MOFGA’s Consulting Forester
Generations of Low Impact Forestry
1999 Stewardship Education Grant

Sam Brown
Logging with Buncher
Logging with Horses
Workshops at Common Ground this year will show horse logging and innovative, low-impact techniques, such as the small forwarder trailer pictured and the use of cables and grapple hooks. Logger Sam Brown (shown hauling his cable) will be among the demon­strators. For times, check the Schedule of Events. A Low Impact Forestry Work­shop will take place at MOFGA’s Unity site on Nov. 12 through 14. For more informa­tion, contact MOFGA at 622-3118 (Augusta) or 568-4142 (Unity). Photos courtesy of Geoff Zentz, Hancock County Planning Commission.

Low Impact Forestry Program Enhances Fair and Fairgrounds

For years MOFGA has wanted to develop a comprehensive forestry program at the Common Ground Country Fair that centered on low impact forest management for the small woodlot owner. MOFGA began work this past January with the Maine Low Impact Forestry (LIF) Project to establish a forestry committee that would: help develop a MOFGA woodlot management plan; design a long-term approach for using the MOFGA woodlands as an educational resource for low impact, sustainable forestry; and coordinate a low impact forestry program for the 1999 Fair. As a result of the forestry committee’s efforts, the 1999 Fair will include the first Low Impact Forestry Tent for related booths and presentations.

The MOFGA woodlot is a great asset to both the Common Ground Fair and MOFGA’s more extensive plan to provide year-round training programs in Unity. The woodlot will be an ideal place for low impact forestry workshops, and will also be a valuable resource for lumber for MOFGA fairground structures. Fairgoers will get a chance to see first-hand how trees that have been carefully pulled from the MOFGA woodlot are milled on a portable sawmill into boards and dimensional lumber for building projects on the grounds.

The type of woodlot management advocated by the LIF Project dovetails very well with MOFGA’s overall mission. Since 1995, the Maine LIF Project has been encouraging the use of community based forestry on small woodlots statewide. The LIF Project promotes careful cultivation of small woodlots for economic and social benefits. The principles of LIF follow a long-term approach to forest management that considers not just the immediate goal of harvesting valuable trees, but, more importantly, how a logging operation can be conducted carefully in order to retain, after a harvest, an ecologically functioning forest that is well stocked with high value trees.

This year the expanded forestry program will consist of both field demonstrations and presentations inside the fairgrounds. The woodlot talks and demonstrations will cover the management plan for the MOFGA woodlot with MOFGA’s consulting forester Barrie Brusila from Mid-Maine Forestry (see below); low impact logging techniques using draft animals and farm tractors; chainsaw safety and a directional tree felling workshop by instructors from the Certified Logging Professional training program; and how to locate and organize a log yard in the small woodlot (including discussions on safety, efficiency, scaling, bucking and sorting).

Inside the fairgrounds the Low Impact Forestry Tent will include booths from such organizations as the Maine Low Impact Forestry Project, Small Woodland Owners Association of Maine, the Maine Forest Service, Northern Appalachian Restoration Project, Maine Tree Farm Program, and the Maine Wood Products Association. Fairgoers can also come to the tent to see products related to forestry and to attend the presentations that are scheduled throughout the three-day fair. These presentations will include a discussion of the benefits of “green” certification on small woodlands by Michael Thompson from Woodlot Alternatives in Topsham; value-adding and niche markets for secondary wood products by Maine Forest Service utilization expert Peter Lammert; the experiences of Paul Sampson from A.E. Sampson and Son in Warren (Sampson operates one of Maine’s first wood manufacturing firms that is committed to utilizing “green” certified wood); the principles of low-impact forestry by Mitch Lansky; and a look at the beginning stages of a low impact forestry cooperative being established in Downeast Maine. In addition, the Maine Forest Service has a variety of interesting presentations planned, including one on the Forest Stewardship Program; and Unity College forestry students will discuss their program.

The featured speaker for the MOFGA forestry program will be Mel Ames from Atkinson (see sidebar). Mel is a longtime, low impact logger and is highly regarded in the timber industry for his work. The lessons he has learned from years of woodswork have given him a unique understanding of how the woods function as one large system and how we, as stewards, must be aware of our interaction with this system. Mel will speak at 1 p.m. on Saturday in the woodlot.

– Geoff Zentz , Hancock Co. Planning Commission , 395 State Street Ellsworth, ME 04605. 207-667-7131 fax: 207-667-2099


Barbara Brusila – MOFGA’s Consulting Forester

Barrie (Barbara) Brusila of Mid-Maine Forestry in Warren has been hired as MOFGA’s consulting forester and will be developing the forest management plan for the MOFGA woodlands. Brusila received her B.S. in Forestry Management from the University of Maine in 1978 and, in 1983, her M.S. in Forestry. She has been a practicing forester in different parts of the state since 1980, working primarily as a consultant.

Brusila is a long-time MOFGA member and has done forestry programs at the Fair on a volunteer basis for many years. “Its nice that MOFGA finally has its own land with a forest,” she says, as she anticipates even better workshops for the Fair. She sees the woodland in Unity as a unique place for programs for the Fair and as a working forest that will benefit from a management plan. “There are infinite possibilities to teach people about forestry and land stewardship,” she says. As she surveys the land, “I’ll keep my eyes open for unique” plants and habitats.

Part of the reason Brusila was chosen for the consulting job at Unity is Mid-Maine Forestry’s Green Certification. In March of 1998, Brusila and her husband Mitchell Kihn had their company certified – the first consulting business in the United States outside of California to be certified by Scientific Certification Systems of Oakland, California. This means that their clients who have their land certified must have a written forest management plan that they agree to follow with Mid-Maine’s assistance. Mid-Maine also has a chain-of-custody certificate, which allows it to label forest products for the green certified market. Brusila and Kihn make forest management plans for their clients; administer timber sales; and manage wildlife habitat and recreation areas. “We try to do the right thing and do the best job we can in the woods,” says Brusila.

For more information, contact Mid-Maine Forestry, 1320 Western Road, Warren, ME 04864.


Mel Ames, Sam Brown and Geoff Zentz
Mel Ames, Sam Brown and Geoff Zentz explore the MOFGA woodlot in preparation for the Low-Impact Forestry workshops at the Fair.

Generations of Low Impact Forestry

By Will Sugg

Fairgoers with any interest in the health of Maine’s woodlands are in for a special treat this year. On Saturday at 1:00, Mel Ames will share with us his knowledge gained from a lifetime of sustainable logging in Maine.

The Ames family has been making a living in the Maine woods for four generations. Mel’s father and grandfather were woodsmen in Aroostook County. Mel has been harvesting wood from his 600-acre woodlot in Piscataquis County since 1947. His son now helps him part-time.

When Mel purchased the land, there were about 17 cords of wood per acre standing there, fifty years later he estimates there are about 35.

“Now let me just tell you,” Ames warns, “when you cut trees sometimes it’s just not that pretty.”

But a close look at a recent cutting on his property reveals a few large stumps in a small area, with barely an opening in the canopy and with most adjacent trees left carefully in place for a future generation of the Ames family.

“Those large landowners are not just cheating themselves out of making more money over the long run,” notes Ames, “when you cut all the trees you lose lots of warblers that eat your pests like spruce budworms.” He adds with a trademark grin, “Plus, the birds keep me comp’ny here in the woods.”

The Ames property holds great diversity of wildlife and plants. Species richness (number of species per unit area) is much higher here than in the sprayed, monoculture, even-aged stands created by industrial forestry.

Mel’s presentation in the MOFGA woodlot is supported by a grant from the San Francisco-based Foundation for Deep Ecology. The foundation money is being used to conduct workshops and seminars on the intergenerational transfer of knowledge relating to ecologically sound farm living. This presentation is free to the public. All are welcome and encouraged to attend.


1999 Stewardship Education Grant

The Maine Low Impact Forestry Project and MOFGA are grateful for the 1999 Stewardship Education Grant that was awarded by the Maine Forest Service to assist with the expansion of the forestry program at the Common Ground Fair.



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