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  • Writer's pictureDylan hubble

NewTown Property Forest Management Plan




General Property Description

 

The Newtown property was acquired by ClimaTech Innovations Inc. in July, 2023. Prior to this date, the property had been a part of a generational family farming operation. While not used for agriculture purposes, the Newtown property appears to have been used as a working woodlot. The property is located on Route 890 in Newtown, a rural community approximately 15 km North East of Sussex, New Brunswick. The property is approximately 159 acres in size.


Between 2018 and 2021 most of the merchantable trees on the property were harvested. Mature trees were maintained along Jordan Brook, which runs through the middle of the property, along small tributaries to the brook, and in a few small wet areas on the property. Several beaver dams exist on Jordan Brook, some of which are active while others are dormant. These dams are causing flooding to some of the forested areas of the property. Areas that were harvested over the four year period were left to regenerate naturally, however not all areas are sufficiently stocked with young trees.




Property Access

 

The property in Newtown is accessed from Route 890, a well maintained government road. Two logging roads have been constructed off of Route 890 to provide very good access the property. As Jordan Brook runs through the property, these two roads provide access to the property without the need for a bridge or large culvert to be installed on the brook. The two access roads will be referred to as the “top road” (bottom left picture) and the “jig road” (bottom right picture).


Top Road: The top road is ~ 1.1 km long and accesses the property from the Western boundary line. The first ~0.35 km of the top road are located on the adjacent property owner’s land through an abandoned field. The top road was well constructed with adequate ditch lines to control water flow. The surface of the road does have some water pooling in places however, and should be crowned properly to shed water. There are a few larger depressions in the top road, and these holes could be filled using the pile of gravel on site that was excavated during the road construction. Placing this material in the depressions, and grading the road to establish a good crown will help protect the road for the long term.


Jig Road: The jig road, which is ~0.65 km long, accesses the property from the Southern boundary line. This road provides access to all of the area to the South East of Jordan Brook. Sufficient ditch lines exist on the the jig road, and no water is pooling on or near the road. However, vegetation is starting to become established on the shoulders of the jig road. The road should be graded to re-establish a good crown and to remove vegetation and protect the road.




Property Line Condition

 

As this property was once owned by the same family that owned most of the adjacent PID’s, many boundary lines to identify the edge of the property have not been established. In order to establish physical boundary lines a surveyor will need to be commissioned to assist with locating most of the lines. The condition of all segments of the perimeter of the PID are outlined in the table below.



Segment

Condition

A

No evidence found. Requires survey.

B

Old blazes found. Should re-fresh. (see pic to right).

C

No evidence found. Requires survey.

D

Route 890 easement. Government road is boundary

E

No evidence found. Requires survey.

F

No evidence found. Requires survey.

G

No evidence found. Requires survey.

H

Route 890 easement. Government road is boundary

I

No evidence found. Requires survey.

J

No evidence found. Requires survey.

Photo of Blaze on line Segment "B"

Wetland & Watercourse Considerations

 

The Newtown property contains relatively wet ground and a number of mapped and unmapped watercourses, all of which flow into Smiths Creek and eventually the Kennebecasis River. Jordan Brook runs though the property from the Northern corner to the Southern line. Many dormant beaver dams exist along Jordan Brook (top right photo), and there is an active beaver dam on an unmapped tributary flowing directly into Smiths Creek.


Much of the property is designated as ‘wetland’ in the provincial wetlands mapping database (left photo below). However, this delineation is somewhat offset from actual conditions on the ground. Any future forest management activities on the property will have to consider legislation regarding operations near wetlands or forested wetlands.


When the property was harvested little consideration was given to the impact of forestry equipment on the hydrological processes. Significant rutting occurred during operations and this disturbance changed the flow of surface water on the property (bottom right photo). This in turn has created more tributaries to Jordan Brook and made the property more saturated than it was pre-harvest.




Wildlife Considerations

 

As the property contains a variety of forest cover conditions and several sources of water, there is an abundance of wildlife using the property for habitat. Improving the growth of the forest, maintaining tree cover, and protecting water quality on the property will continue to improve the potential habitat for various species of wildlife on the woodlot.


While not a census of wildlife using the property, below are examples of wildlife evidence observed on the property while preparing this management plan:

  • game trails appear to be frequently traveled in the mature forest stands along Jordan Brook

  • moose and deer browsing evidence can bee seen in stands with young hardwood regeneration

  • beavers have been and are currently active on several watercourses on the property

  • ducks have been seen using the ponds created by the beaver activity

  • woodcock have been observed in the regenerating hardwood stands

  • coyote droppings have been observed along the top road


Photo of deer trail located on North side of Jordan Brook
Photo of active beaver dam along Western edge of property

Social Considerations

 

The Newtown property is easily accessed by the public, and is highly visible to the homeowners nearby and motorists using Route 890. Any forest management activities on the property should consider the impacts on the neighbours to the property and the public.


Visual buffers: When the Southern section of the property was harvested in 2018, attempts were made to leave a roadside buffer along Route 890. However, due to the width of the buffer and tree species it contains, the buffers are largely ineffective. While there are no legal requirements to maintain visual buffers, this is something that future forest management activities should consider.


Public use: In discussions with neighbours to the property it was learned that they use the ‘jig road’ in the summer to access the forest to harvest wild blueberries. Due to the dry sandy knoll around the jig road, this area is abundant with blueberries. The neighbours have also reached out seeking permission to hunt on the property as well during hunting season. Forest management activities should consider the impacts on the public.


Photo of roadside buffer on Route 890 and buffer around adjacent property owner’s home
Photo of wild blueberries being harvested off of ‘jig road’

Forest Stand Prescriptions

 

As a result of the harvesting activity that took place between 2018 and 2021 the Newtown property now has a very fragmented forest stand structure. Small pockets of mature trees have been left in areas along watercourses and on wetter soils. Some of the harvested areas contain established trees that were not merchantable at the time of harvest while other areas that were harvested have very little residual vertical structure.


In portions of the harvested area natural regeneration exists and the areas are well stocked with various species of hardwood and softwood trees. However, portions of the harvested area have insufficient stocking to create the next forest on the property.


The forest stands on the property have been grouped into four treatment zones in order to achieve the objectives of the management plan. These forest stand prescriptions are colour coded on the map below, and consist of:

  • Full planting (pink area on map)

  • Fill planting (orange area on map)

  • Thinning of natural regeneration (green area on map)

  • Mortality recovery harvesting in mature stands (blue area on map)



Full Planting

 

Full planting is required on ~ 15 acres of the property in order to meet the management plan objectives. This treatment should take place on areas that were harvested, or disturbed by excessive grubbing during road construction, where little or no existing natural regeneration has

become established.


The full planting area adjacent to the top road will not require site preparation before planting. This area has ample exposed mineral soil for effective tree planting and very little competition for the planted seedlings. The full planting area along the Northwest boundary line will require site preparation prior to planting in order to create effective microsites for the seedlings. Any areas that are full planted should be continually monitored for competing vegetation and seedling survival.


The target density for full planting areas should be ~2000 seedlings/ha (~800 seedlings/ac). Tree species that could be considered for tree planting include:

  • white spruce

  • black spruce (in wetter microsites)

  • white pine

  • red oak

  • yellow birch


Full planting area adjacent to the top road. Area is free of slash and does not require site preparation prior to planting
Area along the top road with excessive grubbing during road construction. Full planting required to re-stock the property

Fill Planting

 

Fill planting is required on ~ 33 acres of the property in order to meet the management plan objectives. This treatment should take place on areas that were harvested but are not adequately stocked with natural regeneration. Fill planting will increase the density of trees in the stands to maximize the productivity of the forest.


Pockets of established natural regeneration exist in the fill planting treatment area. This natural regeneration is growing well and in many cases will out-perform a planted tree. When planting trees, natural regeneration of desirable long lived species (ex white pine) should be prioritized and planting should not occur in close proximity.


The target density for fill planting areas should be ~ 2000 trees/ha (~800 trees/ac). The amount of trees that will need to be planted in this treatment area will depend on the density of acceptable natural regeneration prior to planting. Tree species that could be considered for fill planting include:

  • white spruce

  • black spruce (in wetter microsites)

  • white pine

  • red oak

  • yellow birch


Area adjacent to the jig road requiring fill planting to fully re-stock the harvested portions of the woodlot
Example of white spruce seedling planted in Fall 2023 in the fill planting area East of the top road

Thinning of Natural Regeneration

 

Approximately 47 acres of the Newtown property that were harvested are adequately stocked with natural regeneration. This area should be left to grow until the softwood species present are ~2 meters tall and the hardwood species are ~ 5 meters tall.


In 5-10 years this area should be thinned to reduce the tree density to ~ 2000 trees/ha (~800 trees/ac). When thinning, longer lived species such as white pine, white spruce, yellow birch, and red oak should be favored over balsam fir, trembling aspen, white birch, and red maple. These latter species should only be left to maintain desired density levels.


If a market for biomass exists at the time of thinning, the trees that are culled could be considered as a source of biomass. As mechanical thinning practices develop for young stands, this presents and opportunity to gather the cut trees during thinning to be used as a biomass feedstock if future markets exist.


Established natural regeneration of a mixture of softwood and hardwood species along Jordan Brook
Area of predominately Trembling Aspen natural regeneration in harvested area on Western side of the property

Mortality Recovery Harvest in Mature Stands

 

Approximately 62 acres of the Newtown property were not recently harvested. These areas were left unoperated due to wet soil conditions, proximity to watercourses, or a lack of desirable merchantable trees. Much of the unharvested area is adjacent to Jordan Brook, and any treatments would need to adhere to watercourse buffer zone regulations.


The unharvested stands contain a highly variable mixture of spruce, balsam fir, white pine, trembling aspen, red maple, and white birch trees. Crown closure of of these stands ranges from 50% to 100% and the live crown ratio varies from ~60% to ~30%.


While these stands are relatively stable and do not pose an immediate risk to stand level blowdown or decline, they do contain individual trees that are unhealthy or suppressed. These individual trees are no longer helping to achieve the management plan objective of storing carbon as these individuals will soon begin decomposition and release CO2 into the atmosphere. While operational challenging, these stands should be treated with a mortality recovery treatment on a 5-10 year re-entry cycle to recover any dead or dying individual trees. This select cutting treatment will ensure that any tree mortality is captured, reduce the risk of forest fires by removing fuel loads, and improve the health of the residual stand


Stand along Northern boundary line comprised of predominately balsam fir. Many individual trees in this stand will soon be in decline are require removal
Mature spruce dominated stand along North side of Jordan Brook

Depending on the existing markets at the time of removal, and the quality of the fiber in the individual trees being removed, the tree mortality being recovered should be considered for several potential uses. Emerging markets for renewable products and a global paradigm shift to reduce carbon emissions present several potential options for the use of dead and dying trees:

  • if of acceptable quality, individual trees could be manufactured into primary forest products such as saw material or pulpwood and used in the traditional forest products industry.

  • if a market exists at the time of removal, the volume extracted could be used as a biomass feedstock for biochar, biogas, compost production

  • if a market exists at the time of removal, the biomass could be used as a feedstock for renewable energy generation.


Aerial view of mature stand along North side of Jordan Brook identifying individual tree mortality (red and grey trees). These individuals should be removed prior to decomposition to maximize the long term storage of carbon

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