Foresters Work to Save Endangered Bird

The golden-winged warbler is currently listed as endangered by the State of New Jersey, being that only about 25 nesting pairs are left within the state. The federal government has been petitioned to list this species because its population has declined 2.3% per year for the last 40 years. Two reasons exist for this terrible decline: lack of habitat and hybridization with the blue-winged warbler.

How can a state with over 715,000 acres of State Forests, State Parks, Wildlife Management Areas, and Natural Lands Trust properties lack habitat? Golden-wings need early successional forests within forest-dominated landscapes at higher elevations (950’ and greater). This habitat is commonly created by practicing forestry under even-aged management, however the amount of cutting necessary has meant that this practice, and therefore this habitat type has been very unpopular for the past 40 years.

The state and federal governments have turned to Gracie & Harrigan for our expertise in creating the habitat necessary to bring these birds back from the brink. Working in cooperation with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Working Lands For Wildlife Program, Gracie & Harrigan approached some of its clients in the warbler’s critical area (the Kittattinny Ridge in Sussex and Warren counties and the northern Highlands in Sussex, Morris, and Passaic counties) regarding creating habitat on their properties. Gracie & Harrigan helped those clients submit grant applications to NRCS and the Common Waters Fund administered by the Pinchot Institute of Conservation. If these grants are awarded, over 378 acres of habitat will be created and would potentially triple the warbler’s population on forests owned by private landowners.

The Division of Fish and Wildlife has also retained Gracie & Harrigan to complete a Forest Stewardship Plan on the 1,550 acre Weldon Brook Wildlife Management Area. This state-owned property contains one of the largest populations of golden-wings left in New Jersey. Gracie & Harrigan has a history on this property, since it was mostly owned by two former clients who sold their properties in the 1990’s and 2000’s to Green Acres. We are proud to lend our expertise in forest planning to the Division for this worthy project.

For further information on the golden-winged warbler, you can read its habitat Best Management Practices for Pennsylvania and Maryland at www.abcbirds.org/abcprograms/domestic/pdf/GWWA_bmp_FinalSmall.pdf

Glenn & Mary Brownstein Named NJ Outstanding Tree Farmer of Year

Congratulations to Glenn & Mary Brownstein, of Raritan Township, Hunterdon County, for achieving the 2010 New Jersey Outstanding Tree Farm of the Year Award. Their farm consists of 37 acres of woodland, and they have been a Certified Tree Farm since 2002. They have accomplished a wide range of activities since 2002, including maintaining and expanding property access trails, which now cover over 2 miles, completing of 17 acres of forest stand improvement thinning, expanding the forest through deer fencing, reforesting and maintaining 1.5 acres of land that was formerly in fallow field, creating brush piles for wildlife habitat, protecting natural tree regeneration with custom made tree shelters, and participation in the Forest Stewardship and Forest Land Enhancement Programs.

The Brownsteins have also been active in involving and educating the public about the Tree Farm program and the importance of forestry through tours to Girl Scout and Boy Scout groups, and through discussions with municipal officials.   Glenn has also served on the NJ Tree Farm Committee. We have enjoyed working with the Brownsteins and offer our congratulations on a well deserved recognition.

Please join us for Tree Farm Day at Batsto Village on Saturday, June 4, 2011 by clicking here.

The American Tree Farm Program

The American Tree Farm Program is sponsored by the American Forest Foundation, and is designed to encourage responsible forest stewardship on private woodlands of ten acres or more. Established in the early 1940’s, the program offers two levels of certification. Pioneer Tree Farm certification is for those properties in the initial stages of forest management. For a property to be a Certified Tree Farm, a Forest Management Plan must be consistently followed, and the owner must demonstrate responsible stewardship of the forest resource. Certified Tree Farms are awarded a certificate, and are given a Tree Farm sign to display at the entrance of the tree farm. Both Pioneer and Certified Tree farmers receive the “Tree Farmer” magazine when they initially sign up.

The American Tree Farm System has Updated its Standards

Recently, the American Tree Farm System has updated their standards to coincide with internationally recognized third-party “green” certification. These newer standards have added certain requirements that were not previously in place. All of the foresters at Gracie & Harrigan have taken the new Tree Farm Inspector Training, and will be happy to discus these new standards with you. Please contact us to review your Forest Management Plan to make sure that it meets the current Tree Farm standards, or feel free to discuss this matter with us when you are here during farm tax season this summer.

For more information on The American Tree Farm System please go to www.treefarmsystem.org.

Gracie and Harrigan assists in National Emerald Ash Borer Survey

When out wandering the forests of New Jersey do not be surprised if you come across a strange looking purple box hanging from an ash tree. Don’t be alarmed – it’s an emerald ash borer (EAB) trap that has been set up as part of a state wide survey to determine if this invasive green menace has established in New Jersey. Native to China and eastern Asia, the EAB arrived in North America hidden in wood packing materials commonly used to ship consumer goods and other products. It further spread through the movement of infected firewood to various vacation spots and hunting camps. Already detected in 14 states, including New York and Pennsylvania, it is only a matter of time until it finds its way here to the Garden State. EAB has caused the destruction of millions of ash trees throughout the US.

Currently, a national grid survey is being conducted throughout 14 states to determine the extent of this infestation. The NJ Department of Agriculture and NJDEP Forest Service are the lead agencies here. Early detection of this pest in New Jersey could help in slowing the spread of this destructive pest. Trap hanging begins in May and monitoring continues through August. We would very much like to thank all of our clients and other forestland owners that are participating in this important study.

To learn more about the Emerald Ash Borer websites include www.aphis.usda.gov and
www.emeraldashborer.info   If you detect the Emerald Ash Borer please contact the EAB Hotline at 866-322-4512. Thanks again for your participation, and remember to use local wood for your campfires to prevent the spread of any diseases or pests.

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Benefits

Practicing sustainable forestry  works to:

  • Protect water quality
  • Increase water yield
  • Promote forest health
  • Restore damaged forest ecosystems
  • Promote wildlife through the creation of habitat
  • Yield renewable forest products