Forestry students tackle tough lots

There’s a new option for woodland owners trying to rejuvenate marginal woodlots.

Modern logging economics tend to discourage landowners from undertaking a beneficial thinning. Now along comes Maplestone School in Acton with an offer that may work for some landowners. The school is looking for small timber harvest sites for their “stump to mill” forestry program. Landowners receive modest compensation for low-value timber while students would get training in logging skills.

“Sustainable forestry is part of students’ education,” said Keith Davis, Maplestone School’s executive director. “Their woodlot becomes our classroom.”

The school has traditionally worked on woodlots owned by towns or non-profits, but is now developing criteria for choosing privately-owned woodlots. Woodlots in the 10 to 20 acre range and stocked with pole-sized trees are ideal. The harvest must be marked and supervised by a forester. Students work with chainsaws and a farm tractor under the direction of an instructor who is a licensed arborist.

“The students understand that by thinning, they’re leaving the rest of the woods better off,” said Davis. “It’s hard for our guys to see that far into the future but they know why they are doing what they do.. Truth is they just love being in the woods.”

Interested woodland owners should contact Maplestone School by calling 207.437.2835 or by emailing

Category: Forest Conditions