EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Haverhill

July 30, 2013

Keeping the forest healthy

City begins tree harvesting program at Clement Farm Conservation Area

HAVERHILL — The buzzing sound of trees being cut down can be heard these days throughout the Clement Farm Conservation Area.

The city has kicked off its forest management plan at Clement Farm on upper Main Street, where a company is using heavy equipment to thin out the forest to make it healthier. City officials said the company will take most of the trees it harvests in trade for doing the work and will pay the city about $11,000.

And as part of the plan, the city will sell some of the harvested trees to residents for firewood.

“This program gives residents an opportunity to purchase locally produced fuelwood through the city’s pilot program,” Mayor James Fiorentini said. “Next year, we hope to expand the program to other forest areas.”

City officials said workers with Hopkinton Forestry & Land Clearing Inc. of Henniker, N.H., began thinning out the area last week and are expected to finish the job by the end of next week.

The goals of the city’s forest management plan include creating an educational forest stewardship trail, protecting water quality and preserving scenic beauty, as well as improving passive recreational opportunities and enhancing wildlife habitat.

For Clement Farm, the work involves cutting down weak or damaged trees as well as those that block sunlight from reaching the ground.

“If the canopy is closed, you don’t get any sunlight on the forest floor, and without that you don’t get any new generation of trees,” said Robert Moore Jr., an environmental health technician with the city. “We also have some really nice old and impressive sugar maple in one area, so we’re trying to take out competing trees. We’re trying to create a good, strong healthy forest and a self-regenerating one.”

Clement Farm, which totals about 53 acres, has about 42 acres of forested area under stewardship, but the tree cutting and harvesting is being limited to about 24 acres, Moore said.

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