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$1.5M Grant aims to improve forestry conservation for western Maine

Sep. 29, 2022

Landowners will work with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service to diagnose and remedy the needs of their land.

BRADLEY, Maine — Maine is known for its rolling hills full of trees, with many across New England traveling to see the beautiful colors as the leaves change. According to Maine.gov, the state contains the most forest cover in the U.S.

To preserve the staple of the state and the wildlife that lives within it, the New England Forestry Foundation is utilizing a new $1.5 million grant to help landowners do just that.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the money will go towards western Maine, non-industrial, and private landowners in the state to preserve and conserve their land’s forestry and wildlife.

“Whether or not they own five acres or one thousand acres, they have an opportunity to benefit wildlife by not only looking at not only their parcel but the parcels around them, and saying ‘What habitats are missing in this landscape that I’m looking at?’ And ‘What can I do to provide for those habitats?'” NEFF senior forest, science, and policy fellow Alec Giffen said.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, landowners will work with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service to diagnose and remedy the needs of their land.

“It can range from creating open spaces for species that need open spaces to spaces like we’re standing in here, which is a canopy forest,” Giffen said.

Biologist Jeremy Markuson said landowners oftentimes mistake things like fallen or dead trees as something negative, but in turn, can actually benefit wildlife in an array of ways.

“That might be a good resource for those wildlife to use for cover, or it could provide food resources in the form of insects for migratory birds,” Markuson said.

But one size doesn’t fit all. Research forester Laura Kenefic said each scenario is a chance to examine a site to find out how it can continue to thrive for years to come.

“It’s good to think about what would be appropriate for a site ecologically and what the long-term perspective is,” Kenefic said. “There’s a great opportunity for us to take a forest condition that in some cases is somewhat degraded and try to direct the composition and structure in a way that’s most suitable for the site.”

To learn more about the program and eligibility, you can visit the New England Forestry Foundation’s website here.

By Caroline LeCour