Spreading the Word About Forest Health

In September, Laura Mattei (right) and the Ashland Town Forest Committee toured the Ashland Town Forest.

This fall, Laura Mattei, SVT’s Director of Stewardship, has been leading educational walks that teach participants how to evaluate forest health and assess the needs for forest management. The walks are part of a new Forest Health Initiative that SVT is working on with other members of the Metrowest Conservation Alliance (MCA).   

Laura launched the initiative after receiving several inquiries about how to assess the health of a forest. SVT AmeriCorps Members Matt Morris and Sara Amish are also supporting the initiative. They plan to develop a guidebook that will provide tips for assessing forest health and offer management recommendations for various conditions.

On recent walks with the Ashland Town Forest Committee and the board of the Carlisle Conservation Foundation, the participants have discussed the various elements of forest health, including tree and plant diversity, forest regeneration, structural elements of a forest, presence of dead wood and other wildlife habitat features, presence and abundance of invasive plants, and evidence of deer overbrowsing.

The goal of the Forest Health Initiative is to help MCA members (local land trusts, conservation commissions, and others) to better understand and manage forest resources in our region. If any MCA members have questions or are interested in contributing to the development of the guidebook, please contact Matt Morris at [email protected].  

The MCA a regional consortium of local land trusts, conservation commissions, and others who work together on land conservation and stewardship issues. It covers the 36 towns within the Sudbury, Assabet, and Concord River watershed, and neighboring towns are welcome to participate. MCA programs are supported by SVT.