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Foresting plan debated

Concerns expressed over tree cutting

In September 2009, forester John Clarke of Rocky Mountain Wood Company, in striped shirt, toured the Leadmine Mountain Conservancy with members of the Conservation Commission, Public Lands Advisory Committee and other town bodies to discuss the particulars of the property’s Forest Management Plan, which includes a controlled cutting plan that was discussed Thursday night. (click for larger version)
July 18, 2010
STURBRIDGE — The Conservation Commission held a public hearing Thursday to discuss the details of a management plan aimed at boosting the health of Sturbridge's forests.

While no trees have been axed yet, neighbors to the property have concerns about how work in the Leadmine Mountain Conservation Area will impact their homes and their neighborhood.

The plan, drafted by forester John Clarke of Rocky Mountain Wood Company, is a 10-year projection of how the 900-plus acre forest should evolve over the next decade through calculated management of the woods, one section at a time.

The first step in Clarke's plan is to institute a forest cutting operation, the first phase encompassing 83 acres fronting on Leadmine Road.

The plan, which will see approximately 40-50 percent of vegetation removed, according to Clarke, is not a clear cutting operation as some townspeople feared, but is actually an attempt to allow the healthiest, heartiest trees to thrive and reforest the thinned out areas with trees that have the best chance of growing to full maturity.

After the identified trees are removed, no cutting can be conducted in that section of the forest for 15 years according to the draft plan.

For more on this story, please see Monday's Southbridge Evening News.

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