New England Forestry Foundation’s initiatives continue to drive forward innovation in conservation and sustainable forestry. Keep reading for three key programs’ progress reports from fiscal year 2017-2018. You can also get an in-depth update about our Build It With Wood initiative’s big year by clicking here.
MassConn Landowner Outreach
In 2017, NEFF and partner organizations American Forest Foundation and the MassConn Sustainable Forest Partnership celebrated the completion of a two-year joint initiative funded by a Wildlife Conservation Society grant. This innovative outreach effort connected MassConn landowners with trained foresters who advised them about how to keep their woods healthy and resilient in a changing climate.
Over these two years, 41 owners met with a forester, and 18 owners—with a total 1,982 acres between them—received forest management plans or support for management practices. Dozens also toured sustainable timber harvests to learn about wildlife-friendly practices with climate in mind.
With support from project partners, NEFF has now received a three-year Forest Service grant to build on this success.
Pooled Timber Income Fund
After years of research, brainstorming and meticulous planning, NEFF’s unique Pooled Timber Income Fund is officially up and running. This charitable giving option offers landowners the opportunity to permanently protect their forests while receiving lifetime income and tax benefits, and also expands the use of Exemplary Forestry practices and opens up more forests for the public to enjoy.
Western Maine Mountains
Over the last fiscal year, NEFF has progressed substantially on two projects that aim to introduce innovative new approaches to large-scale land conservation in Western Maine.
In partnership with the Maine Mountain Collaborative, NEFF is developing the Exemplary Forestry Initiative, which seeks to bring large sections of Maine’s forestland under long-term Exemplary management. The initiative will include a for-profit investment fund that will be used to acquire large tracts of forestland in the Western Maine region. Lands owned by the fund will be managed in accord with Exemplary Forestry management standards now in publication. This past year NEFF completed modelling of how this management performs ecologically and financially at the landscape scale.
In addition, NEFF is leading a program within the Maine Mountain Collaboration for Fish and Wildlife RCPP, where landowners are provided technical assistance and financial reimbursement to develop NRCS restoration plans and implement cost-share conservation practices focused on enhancing, maintaining, and creating improved wildlife habitat in Western Maine. A crucial advancement relating to this project involved the development of a landscape level resource inventory that measures wildlife forest habitat conditions in Western Maine. This work represents the first ever landscape scale assessment of habitat needs combined with specific prescriptions for forestry practices to close identified gaps.