Timber Harvest - Housatonic State Forest
The DEEP Forestry Division is nearing completion of a timber harvest at Housatonic State Forest in Sharon. The work, being performed by Maple Ridge Lawn LLC out of Litchfield, was planned in preparation for the impending arrival of emerald ash borer (EAB) in town.
EAB is an Asian insect accidentally introduced near Detroit, Michigan and discovered in 2002. It has since spread to nearly half the country and is considered the most destructive forest pest in America. The invasive insect has no effective natural control and threatens the continued existence of all ash species in North America. EAB was first discovered in Connecticut in 2012 in Prospect and Naugatuck. While not known in Sharon yet, it has been discovered just several towns away and is well-established in Litchfield County.
To help mitigate the loss of ash, Forestry officials decided to plan a pre-salvage in three forested areas, totaling 78 acres, where ash is prominent in the Sharon Mountain Block of Housatonic State Forest. The goal is providing for public safety while not simply targeting ash trees, but planning sound science-driven practices to produce a healthier and more diverse forest, including control of invasive plants, removal of nonnative trees, and thinning out other trees of all species with health or long-term integrity issues. DEEP hopes to convert the areas to “uneven-aged” management in the long run, to increase forest and wildlife habitat diversity.
As part of this operation, roadside trees are also being cut along 6-1/2 miles of Sharon Mountain Road and Clay Beds Road within the state forest to reduce current and future public hazards, as well as to remove trees encroaching too closely to the road bed and drainage structures, making maintenance and passage more difficult.
The harvest, which began near the end of 2016 and has not been in operation during wet ground conditions, is nearly complete and expected to wrap up in spring.
The DEEP Forestry Division implements between 700 and 1,000 acres of timber harvests across Connecticut annually from its 170,000 acres of state forests. Broad objectives are to produce healthier and more diverse forests that can sustainably provide products and habitat for wildlife that are of most local and global concern, while reducing the chances for catastrophic losses from storms and pests that would adversely impact forests of all the same types or ages.
For questions, contact the DEEP Forester, David Irvin, at the Pleasant Valley Field Office, 860-379-7085.