Sustainable Farm Forest Management Using Small-Scale Logging Methods
This applied research, demonstration, and educational outreach program (a) investigates the efficiencies, effects, and economics of harvesting farm woodlots, as well as other nonindustrial private forests (NIPFs), with methods already available to farmers (e.g., farm tractors and draft animals); (b) develops information that describes the current potential for and conduct of forest management and timber harvesting on farm forests; (c) develops an awareness among farmers of the potential costs and benefits of sustainable farm forest management and timber harvesting; and (d) provides information on how to develop and maintain a profitable, efficient, and safe timber harvesting component to farm income and sustainable farm forests.
Focussing on the northern New England region (ME, NH, and VT), this is being accomplished through a program defined by four specific tasks:
Applied research that compares both logging production/efficiency and costs/benefits using tractors and horses vs. conventional skidding with rubber-tired skidders in partial harvests; and forest sustainability effects of farm tractor and animal yarding, including impacts on soil, site disturbance, and residual stand quality.
A survey of farmers in the region who own forestland that elicits information on their interest in and experience with sustainable farm forest management and small-scale harvesting on their farm woodlands.
The development of a permanent small-scale farm forest harvesting demonstration area.
The production/distribution of both a videotape and brochure, and workshops that discuss and illustrate small-scale logging costs, benefits, and safety in the context of overall farm forest management and sustainability.
The following targets have been established for this project:
From field and survey research, develop baseline information on farm forest management and small-scale timber harvesting efficiencies, costs, benefits, and sustainability that will be useful to farmers who own and manage farm woodlots.
Results of this research will be widely disseminated in agricultural and forestry publications (e.g., Farming, Northern Logger, and extension publications in each state), as well as during workshops and other outreach efforts. This information will reach 1,000 farmers in the region, and influence the forest management behaviors of 100 farmers.
Conduct outreach to farmers in northern New England who have an interest in and potential for farm forest management that includes small-scale logging with the information developed through field and survey research. "Train-the trainer" workshops will attract 30 agriculture and forestry professionals in each of the three states. Trainers will be identified through state extension, Farm Bureau, and forestry offices. Of these, 10 trainers in each state will actively disseminate the information/videotapes developed by the field and survey research to a total of 50 farmer-constituents per state. Approximately 25 of these farmers per state (total = 75) will implement one or more aspects of the outreach efforts in the ensuing two years. The demonstration site in Orono, ME, will attract 100 visitors per year, 50 of which will visit during the University of Maine Witter Farm Open House, and will influence the farm forest management behavior of 5 farmers per year.
The success of this project will be gauged by several measures: Numbers of individuals visiting the demonstration site and feedback as indicated on survey cards attached to the brochure available at a kiosk at the demonstration site; workshop evaluations solicited from participants at the workshops in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont; number of requests for the videotape, as well as feedback from those receiving and viewing the tape via an accompanying brochure/survey card soliciting reactions to the tape, as well as intention and/or implementation to engage in small-scale harvesting methods; and a follow-up survey of registered workshop participants for the workshops held in each state.
All field and survey data have been collected and continue to be analyzed. This data has helped to form the basis for the text of the video (DVD) and content of workshops.
Field work on the small-scale logging demonstration site near the University of Maine's Witter Farm is complete, and signage has been installed there and the on-site brochre completed. All footage for the video (DVD) has been collected, and the production has been edited and printed. I am currently organizing workshops in VT, ME, and NH at which the DVD will be viewed and distributed, and the project discussed.
(NOTE: A project extension was requested and granted because the project PI was out of the country working on a Fulbright Scholarship in Nepal from July 2004 to January 2005. This had delayed the completion of tasks, such as the production of the videotape, several months. Project tasks planned to have been completed before this interruption (e.g., collection of field and survey data) were completed on time.)
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
There are no specific results to report during this reporting period. All performance targets scheduled to have been met before my departure for Nepal in July 2004 (e.g., field and survey data collection) have been completed. Subsequent targets, including the posting of signage in the demontration area, the on-site brochure, and the DVD production, have been completed. Workshops are currently being orgainized in each of the northern New England states.