We’re not the only ones who can help out with your land management needs! Below are some organizations and resources we recommend looking at (click on the links to visit their websites).
Forest Management and Landowner Assistance
Ecology and Management of Northern Forests – With management guides, research articles and links to regional experimental forests, the Forest Service Northern Research Station lives up to its mission- to “provide the scientific foundation for sustainable management of northern forests through research and technology transfer.”
Vermont Family Forests – “Vermont Family Forests is a non-profit family forest conservation organization. Our priority is to conserve the health of local family forests. When appropriate, we promote their careful cultivation for local community benefits.” VFF also provides guidelines for sustainable timber harvesting, works with landowners on ecological forest planning and management, and promotes sustainable forest products through “green verification” and their Neighborwood and Family Forest brands.
Natural Resources Conservation Services – NRCS, a branch of the the USDA, provides technical and financial assistance to landowners. Visit their website for information on their wide-ranging programs, including cost-sharing for sustainable forestry and wildlife enhancement practices.
Forest Guild – “The Forest Guild is a professional organization of forest stewards, associated natural resource professionals, and affiliates who are passionate about restoring and sustaining the integrity of our forests while meeting the needs of the communities that rely on them.” Many publications are available on their website, including “Forest Wisdom,” their semi-annual journal.
Vermont Coverts – “The mission of Vermont Coverts is to enlist Vermont landowners in a long term commitment to maintain and enhance diverse wildlife habitat and healthy ecosystems.” Through annual training weekends, day-long workshops and their Woodlands for Wildlife newsletter, Coverts has built a network of Vermont landowners with the know-how to support wildlife management.
Vermont Woodlands Association – VWA aims to “to advocate for the management, sustainability, perpetuation, and enjoyment of forests through the practice of excellent forestry.” Perhaps best known for sponsoring the American Tree Farm System in Vermont, VWA also hosts forest tours, teaches a Forestry School weekend, and supports the Current Use program in Vermont.
Conservation and Sustainability
Vermont Land Trust – With a mission “to conserve land for the future of Vermont,” the VLT has permanently protected over 500,000 acres of land in the state through conservation easements and ownership of farms, forests and community land (including the Spitzer Demonstration Forest at NorthWoods). VLT staff offer expertise in land stewardship and sustainable forestry, creating workable conservation options for landowners.
Plants and Ecology
USDA Plants – All the information you could want about plant species in one searchable website. Everything from taxonomic classification to photos and identification features, and links to other databases. Bring your plant questions and start reading; you won’t be disappointed.
GIS and Mapping Tools
Google Earth – An easy-to-use platform with many of the capabilities of expensive GIS programs, Google Earth is a great option for landowners and professionals on a budget. Create, save and export data, view historical aerial photos, and more!
VT ANR Natural Resources Atlas – No downloading required! This online application will get you started using GIS, with many viewable layers of data related to land use and working landscape conservation.
Web Soil Survey – NRCS has made a wealth of soils information available through this website, which allows you to view soil characteristics and land use suitability for an area that you specify. Custom reports and recommendations can be easily generated for your property.
When it comes to reading about natural history, forestry, conservation or any related field, it can be quite intimidating to find a place to begin. Below are a few of our favorite starting points—great reads for new, aspiring, or veteran landowners and conservationists:
The Nature of Vermont: Introduction and Guide to a New England Environment
by Charles W. Johnson
This is, simply, required reading for anyone hoping to understand the complexity of natural environments and human impact upon them in this most densely-populated region of the continent.
Wetland, Woodland, Wildland: A Guide to the Natural Communities of Vermont
by Elizabeth Thompson and Eric Sorenson
Created in partnership through The Nature Conservancy of Vermont, Vermont Fish and Wildlife, and the Nongame Wildlife Fund, this guide is the authority on natural communities in our part of the world.
Reading the Forested Landscape: A Natural History of New England
by Tom Wessels
Published in 1997, this comprehensive walk through the northern woodlands chronicles the change of forest type and diversity from pre-settlement to post-war America.
“It is equal part Sherlock Holmes and Aldo Leopold, and it will help many thousands of New Englanders answer the questions that come to mind as they wander this landscape of stone walls, stunted apple trees, and towering hemlocks…” Bill McKibben (back cover)
Positive Impact Forestry: A Sustainable Approach to Managing Woodlands
by Thom J. McEvoy
This manual in fact reads like a memoir of forestry practice worldwide, and presents a vision for the field to evolve to fit the changing landscape.