Our brontosaurus contractor, Faun Koplovsky, has had a series of unfortunate equipment breakdowns this summer, so it now appears that his return for Round 2 of the land clearing, to grind up the stumps and branches into wood chips, and to knock down the second growth of buckthorns and other invasive shrubs, will happen in spring 2020, not in 2019 as originally planned.
Here is a link to a nice article by Andrea Shortsleeve of VT Fish and Wildlife, describing the benefits of creating young forest for wildlife, while also managing invasive plants, which is exactly what we are doing here at Dothan Brook Trails. The article even mentions the use of a brontosaurus grinder to manage heavy infestations of invasive shrubs.
The photo above shows the restored field just south of the brook. As you can see, we have opened up space around this venerable old apple tree and a cluster of hawthorn trees, all of which will provide pretty flowers in the spring and then fruit for wildlife in the fall.
Our land clearing and wildlife habitat restoration project is nearing a milestone. The first round of initial clearing work will be finished by the middle of March. At that point, the work will pause while the snow melts. It will likely take several months for the ground to dry out completely, because the layers of wood chips on the ground will insulate the layers of snow and ice underneath.
Then in June or July, Faun Koplovsky will return with his brontosaurus machine to follow up to do a second pass over the cleared areas. They will grind up the stumps (currently buried under snow) and the coarse woody debris into finer wood chips that will decompose more quickly.
I apologize that the land will look a bit messy and rough until summer, when the second round of work gets done, but I hope you are already enjoying the improved views from the land.
Since large areas of our land have been covered with extremely dense growth of glossy buckthorn, common buckthorn, honeysuckle, multiflora rose, spindlebush, barberry and other invasive shrubs, the management plan involves clearing some large areas of land. We are leaving some of the native species of trees, to provide food and shelter for wildlife. However, portions of the land will look very different, because so much of the current invasive shrub growth is being removed. This work will also result in improved trails for walking and improved views from those trails.
At this stage, the ground in the newly-cleared areas looks a bit messy and rough, but this will change in the spring. After the snow melts, we will do a second pass to cut the stumps down closer to ground level, and to grind up the woody debris.
Clearing work has begun on the two once-and-future fields adjacent to the brook. A second pass will be done on these fields in the spring to grind the stumps, which are currently buried in deep snow, down to ground level. The clearing will benefit the native trees that we have left, including the big sugar maple tree shown below, and the restored fields will eventually attract birds, such as woodcock, that need open areas for their mating rituals.
After completion of these two fields, the clearing work will move uphill to some other portions of our land.
The brontosaurus machine arrived today, and will begin land clearing work tomorrow, Jan. 8. Our contractor is Faun Koplovsky, owner of Land and Mowing Solutions. Faun has many years of experience doing wildlife habitat restoration projects, similar to this one, all over New England. We are delighted to have his help with this project!
See other recent blog posts below for discussion of the background and goals of this project.
We are planning a wildlife habitat restoration project on the Eastern portion of the property, beginning January 7, 2019. The goals are:
A few years ago, we joined with a group of neighboring Dothan Ridge landowners to commission Audubon Vermont to do a study of the suitability of our combined forest lands for bird habitat. Key recommendations to improve bird habitat include:
We are starting to make plans to implement these recommendations. Stay tuned for future updates on these plans.
Conditions for XC skiing are unusually good right now, with deep snow that has not yet turned to ice. Come out and enjoy the network of trails!
Following the extended drought that we have been experiencing this summer, the water flow in the brook is at the lowest level I have seen.
Tom and Patricia Norton have owned this land since June 2013. We live in Thetford, VT, and love coming to Dothan Brook frequently to explore the trails, to watch the Brook, and to see how many different species of plants and animals we can find. We are pleased to welcome you to this beautiful land.