Forest Management

Examining oak regeneration in a tree shelterIn 1981, the Holt Research Forest Team developed two complimentary plans for forest management and research. Our management goals reflect those of many non-industrial forestland owners in southern Maine:

  • Maximize the production of high-quality timber.
  • Enhance wildlife diversity and abundance.
  • Maintain the forest’s aesthetic qualities.

However, most of the stands at the Holt Research Forest were single-storied or two-storied, even-aged stands arising from old field succession or high volume harvests.

Thus our forest management objectives were to:

  1. Increase structural habitat diversity by adding new vertical layers of vegetation.
  2. Arrive at a balanced age-class distribution to generate a more even flow of forest products over time.

These objectives framed the original harvest design for this forest. A forest with a wider range of vertical structure can support a more diverse array of plants and animals, occupying different niches that are created by vertical separation. In a regional context, our management strategy is consistent with landscape-level conservation across southern Maine, which is under strong development pressure and reduced forest harvesting.

Within the 120 hectare (300 acre) Holt Research Forest, we selected a 40 hectare (100 acre) study area. The study area is located on the eastern half of the property, between Old Stage Road to the west and the Back River to the east. We divided the study area into 40 one-hectare (0.4 acre) blocks, then divided each block into 160 50×50 meter quadrats, and 640 25×25 meter subquadrats. We bisected the study area along a north-south line into a “managed” half on the west and a “control” half on the east. We also established “buffer” blocks around the study area.

Due to the constraints of research and statistical rigor, the harvest was not marked by stand but by research block. The map here indicates the selection pattern for harvesting blocks in 1988.

Harvest Blocks