Tom's Blog

Monday, October 27, 2008

Cleaning out the East Basin

What we are calling the East Basin (Unit 22 on the management map) is still much of a work in progress. This 4 acre basin at the far east of the Conservancy had originally been a prairie remnant but ended up as an orphan of the Lockwood Farm. Over 70 years it gradually filled in with junk shrubs and trees. Last winter a contractor spent several weeks cutting trees and shrubs, but due to the heavy snows most of the cut trees had to be left on the ground. Our firewood consultant had managed to remove most of the black oaks, but the rest of the trees were still in place.

Today we started to clear out the remaining trees. Two contractors were involved, one with a skidder on a tractor, plus four people with chain saws who worked along side. Because the skidder had a long cable, it was possible to reach most of the way down to the bottom of the basin. The photo above shows a long log on the way to its final resting place.

Quite a few of the logs were black cherry, and were large enough to convert into lumber. Those are now on their way to a near by sawmill. The less interesting wood (mainly elm) will be turned into fire wood by a neighbor.

We try to work cooperative arrangements with as many people as we can to remove the wood at minimal cost. It is still an expensive proposition.

We had originally planned to plant this unit late this fall, but after a year lying fallow, there is so much "bad" stuff present that we have decided to delay planting for a year. Next spring/summer we will use heavy herbicide treatments to get rid of all the undesirable vegetation, and then plant next November.

Some folks might remember that there were also about 100 large aspen trees in this unit, which have been girdled and are in the process of dying. However, it usually takes two years for the aspen to die, so we need to wait until next fall to cut and burn them. Another reason why we aren't planting this fall.

Adaptive management in action!


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