Forestry

Farm & Wilderness manages approximately 4,500 acres of forestland in the towns of Plymouth and Mt. Holly Vermont. F&W forest management goals are sustainable timber production, enhanced wildlife habitat, and providing opportunities for campers and staff to learn about the forests and wildlife.

To be sustainable, F&W manages these forests in a way that attempts to mimic the same changes that occur in a forest as it ages undisturbed. Trees that reach a mature age generally have large crowns or tops that shade a large area, sometimes as much as 1/4 to 1/2 acre. Those mature trees eventually die, allowing sunlight and moisture to reach the area that was previously shaded. New seedling trees start growing in that newly opened space, creating a new generation of trees in the forest. F&W harvests trees that are near maturity to create an open space for seedling trees to get established, at the same time harvesting any trees that may be inhibiting good quality trees from maximizing their growth. Most of the wood is sold to local sawmills, with some wood saved for building projects at F&W (such as the Dairy Barn at Tamarack Farm).

Campers help to enhance wildlife habitat by clearing around old apple orchards in the forest, allowing the trees to have more sunlight, as well as clearing small areas of forest to promote aspen regeneration. Young aspen trees are beneficial to multiple species, along with the grasses and forbs which create an additional food supply for wildlife. The age of the forests in Vermont is generally the same across the state due to the change in farming practices that caused a majority of small farms to be abandoned around the turn of the century. As we clear small patches in the forested areas around F&W, we allow for a variety of forest ages, thereby increasing the types of wildlife habitat.

Our forester is Silos Roberts. He grew up in Vermont and graduated with a B.S. in Agriculture from the University of Massachusetts. He was a dairy farmer in Vermont for 20 years before joining F&W as staff in 1992. He and his wife, Camille, worked together at F&W for many years as the farmer team, and his two kids, Cody and Molly, were long-time F&W campers. Silos’ interests include alternative energy, backcountry skiing, sustainable forestry, and trail work.