On April 3, 2024

27-acre Jenne Forest Plan in the works

By Curt Peterson

Hartland’s very active conservation commission is currently developing a “Jenne Town Forest Plan” to ensure maximum public value and sustainability in the 27-acre parcel, located just off Dodge Lane.

On March 13 Southern Windsor County Forester Hannah Dallas presented her suggestion for a plan to the commission volunteers.

“The Conservation Commission is in the process of writing a management plan for the Town Forest,” commission chair Rob Anderegg said. “Hannah’s plan is a part of that effort, but not the entire thing.”

“Once the final plan is written and discussed,” he continued, “it will need Select Board approval.”

He hopes the plan will be ready for Select Board review by April, and voted on by selectmen later in the spring.

The Conservation Commission manages six parcels of town property.

The Jenne Town Forest parcel was given to Hartland by Clyde Jenne’s father, Alfred Jenne, and Alfred’s sister, Ruth Jenne, in 1982 as part of settling their parents’ estates, Clyde told the Mountain Times.

Recognizing that Ms. Dallas’s proposal isn’t the ultimate commission plan, her evaluation of the forest, which she called “pretty cool,” is valuable. She explained how most of the original Vermont forest land was cleared for agricultural use in the 19th Century. Later, when farms were abandoned, new forest began to emerge, without the “balance” it had before the clearing.

The new trees formed a canopy over the forest floor, that didn’t allow for regeneration, and deer browsing kept saplings to knee-level. Dallas recommends opening the canopy to encourage more diverse development, and selective thinning can enable access for more active management.

According to Northern Woodlands Magazine, [legacy trees] “are old trees that have been spared during harvest, or have survived stand-replacing natural disturbances.”

Dallas says legacy trees can become crop trees to be harvested, just thinned out to allow “future legacy trees” to develop from the forest floor. If timber cutting isn’t desirable or profitable enough, the trees thinned by girdling or cutting, can be left where they fall to nourish the undergrowth.

She said it could be called “killing things to release others.”

Dallas said planting “brush barriers” around growing trees can discourage browsing by deer. An alternative is “tubing” young trees, but she warns it can be expensive.

Phragmites is an invasive that can clog forest growth. A Wisconsin state website describes phragmites as a reed-like plant that likes wetlands like the Jenne parcel. Controlling phragmites requires chemical remediation, usually applied as early growth by a licensed applicator.

“This is a great time to begin work on invasives control,” Dallas said. “They are easily identified by their leaves, which will be obscured when more desirable plants and trees begin to foliate.”

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