Project Site Selection
Personnel, aerial photos, and a Geographic Information System (GIS) are used to locate and assist with evaluating potential project sites. Site visits to the areas and subsequent biological surveys determine their suitability for management. The Upland Program chooses sites that are thought to be large enough to provide a substantial amount of habitat separately or in conjunction with surrounding early-successional habitats. Maintaining large habitat blocks within a landscape provides the required resources for the greatest number of wildlife species without contributing to the negative effects of habitat fragmentation. The Upland Program recognizes the need to maintain extensive areas of forestland, as well as adequate areas of open habitat.
A feller buncher is used to cut trees from an abandoned field at the Taconic Trail State Forest in Williamstown.
Additionally, the Upland Program looks at the size of the vegetation to be cleared. Areas with vegetation generally less than 6-8 inches in diameter are preferred since the vegetation is typically small enough to be cleared efficiently and relatively economically. The last characteristic the Upland Program looks for is the presence of any early-successional wildlife species that may benefit from additional habitat, or rare species that may be benefited or hindered by this type of management. Proposed projects are reviewed with biologists of MassWildlife's NHESP to obtain rare species information.
Photo by Jim Oehler