This morning we heard from DEC forestry and wildlife representatives from Region 5 (which covers most of the Adirondacks). Tom Martin, DEC Forester, kicked it off with a discussion of the explanation of the role the agency plays in local forests, public and private. Martin was followed by a DEC Wildlife Biologist who pointed out a number of important resources for landowners, including a few cool internet tools.
Region 5 contains more potential commercial forest land (about 3 million acres) than forest preserve land. The region has three part-time people who handle private land services who are basically foresters who help people develop land management plans.
Martin reviewed recent large land transfers in Region 5. “Every single large forest products company has sold their land,” he said. Those include Champion, International Paper, Domtar, and Finch Pruyn. Lands not bought outright by the state (or a third party like the Nature Conservancy) have been purchased by timber management investment companies which Martin said have much shorter term financial goals (and shorter tenure) than the original owners.
By the way, DEC has paid full taxes on land the state owns in the park since the 1880s. The companies that have sold their land all enjoyed 480a tax breaks that reduced their assessments by 80% (that includes state, county and school taxes).
Following Martin, Region 5 Wildlife Biologist Paul Jensen reviewed DEC resources for forest owners including the agency’s beaver damage management program. The program includes nuisance beaver permits that allow trapping and killing of nuisance beaver and the removal of beaver dams; the DEC no longer traps beaver for relocation. Jensen also briefly touched on whitetail deer management, a significant factor in understory regeneration.
Here are a few resources Jensen pointed us to for getting a closer look at public and private forest lands:
Environmental Resource Mapper – enter your property location and find about wetlands, significant natural communities, and rare plants and animals.
Landowner Incentive Program – provides information and access to funds and/or tax breaks for forest land owners whose land contains at risk species.
State Lands Interactive Mapper – provides a lot of information on state lands.