Diario del proyecto MassWildlife's Fox Den Wildlife Management Area

Archivos de diario de abril 2020

03 de abril de 2020

Management Projects Planned for Early 2020

MassWildlife has several habitat restoration and management projects planned for spring and early summer this year; some of them are on the 15 targeted Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) we’ve put on iNaturalist as projects. Here’s a list of what’s in progress or about to happen. If you’re visiting one of these properties while the work is going on, you may see signs telling you to stay out of the area being burned or logged.

Many of our current habitat management projects are targeting two main goals: restoring barrens habitats and creating new patches of young forest.

Barrens Habitats
Barrens habitats are areas of the landscape that are usually on deep sand deposits. Before effective fire suppression, these areas burned occasionally. Perhaps the most well-known type of barrens habitat in Massachusetts is the Pitch Pine-Scrub Oak natural community, found in our Montague Plains Wildlife Management Area and in DCR’s Myles Standish State Forest, among other places. Other types of barrens habitats are sandplain grasslands, such as at Frances Crane WMA and Bolton Flats WMA, and the “riverine” barrens, such as at Muddy Brook WMA or along Priest Brook in the Birch Hill WMA. Barrens habitats, if effectively managed to restore appropriate burning intervals, support many uncommon and state-listed plants and animals.

This year, we are planning several management activities to restore and maintain barrens habitats. At Bolton Flats WMA, Frances Crane WMA, Herman Covey WMA, and Montague Plains WMA, we will be conducting prescribed burns of 50 to 100 acres. Some of these areas will also be treated to eliminate invasive species that threaten to take over the barrens habitats.

In case you’re wondering what effects our forestry and prescribed burning activities have on the overall carbon budget on our lands, well, we wondered about that, too. We recently investigated how much carbon is stored on our properties statewide, how carbon storage has increased because of forest growth and additional land acquisitions, and how much carbon is released when we cut trees or burn a habitat. The details can be found on our website at Carbon Storage on MassWildlife Lands, but the summary is that carbon releases through habitat management for rare and declining species is just 1.7% of the new carbon storage by forest growth on WMAs. Overall, much more carbon is stored than released on our lands every year.

Young Forests
By the mid-1800s, about 80% of Massachusetts was clear of forests, because of extensive farming and logging. Since that time, the forests of Massachusetts have grown back; now, about 80% of the state is forested. This process of succession has gradually eliminated what we call “young forest,” which are the parts of the landscape in states of early succession: grasslands, shrublands, and young sapling trees, up to above 30 years old. Young forests support many species, particularly birds, that disappear once the trees have grown older. Chestnut-sided Warblers, Prairie Warblers, and Blue-winged Warblers are a few of the birds you’ll find only in these early-successional habitats. Even Ruffed Grouse, which can be found in mature forest, prefer to feed on the seeds of the birches that colonize a newly cleared area.

Because these young forests are disappearing across the state, MassWildlife has set a goal of creating and maintaining 10% to 15% of our properties in young forest (and setting aside 10% to 15% to mature into old-growth forest, on the other end of the spectrum). This year, we are planning young forest cuts at Fox Den WMA, as well as other Wildlife Management Areas not in iNaturalist.

Publicado el abril 3, 2020 02:17 TARDE por masswildlife masswildlife | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

21 de abril de 2020

The City Nature Challenge, Together-but-Separately

We here at MassWildlife hope that you and your families and friends are safe and well during the COVID-19 public health emergency. We’ve found that a responsible hike in nature is great for both physical and mental health. We suspect that’s also true for anyone who uses iNaturalist and welcome you to participate in the City Nature Challenge (April 24-27th) at a nearby Wildlife Management Area (WMA).

This year, the City Nature Challenge is focused simply on looking at nature, wherever you’re able to be. MassWildlife had hoped to be leading public walks for the Boston and Pioneer Valley Challenges, but we have cancelled those events for the safety of the public and our staff. However, a number of MassWildlife staff will be going out to iNaturalize sometime during the Challenge period and we hope you will, too.

All of MassWildlife’s (WMAs) remain open to the public. Please remember to keep a distance of 6 feet or more between you and other visitors. MassWildlife encourages the public to visit lesser-known spots and explore the outdoors close to home. If crowded, choose a different location or time to visit. Please click here for the latest guidance and recommendations regarding COVID-19.

We hope you visit one or more of the WMAs during the City Nature Challenge, particularly the WMAs we support as projects in iNaturalist. For the Boston City Nature Challenge area, those iNaturalist project WMAs are:
Martin Burns WMA
J.C. Phillips Sanctuary
Wayne MacCallum WMA
Part of Bolton Flats WMA
Burrage Pond WMA
Southeast Bioreserve
Frances Crane WMA

For the Pioneer Valley City Nature Challenge, the iNaturalist project WMAs are:
Montague Plains WMA
Herman Covey WMA
Poland Brook WMA

For maps of these areas – or any of our WMAs across the state – you can visit our on-line Lands Viewer. These maps also show the official parking areas, where those are available. As always these days, if a parking area or a trail or lakeshore is crowded with people, go somewhere else to hike and explore.

Any observation you upload to iNaturalist from these WMAs during the Challenge period will automatically be collected in both the appropriate Challenge project and in the appropriate WMA project. All you have to do is get out and enjoy the natural world. We hope you do get out, and we hope you find a bit of beauty and peace in nature. ​

Publicado el abril 21, 2020 07:17 TARDE por masswildlife masswildlife | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario