Recently, a project took place at Brasher State Forest in Saint Lawrence County as part of a more than 30-year-old partnership between DEC and the Akwesasne Mohawk community.
In February and March, volunteer crews from the Akwesasne Task Force on the Environment from the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe Land Resources program conducted improvement cuttings to protect black ash trees under a volunteer stewardship agreement.
This project involved thinning a patch of forest to reduce competition among trees, which will eventually help the trees that remain grow to be bigger, stronger, and healthier. The crew left several black ash crop trees to increase growth and promote seed production.
Black ash is a culturally important tree species that is primarily used by the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe to make baskets, which are created both for utilitarian purposes and as art. This species has become scarce in Akwesasne territory in recent years, and special projects such as this one have been undertaken by the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe to protect this resource.
The trees selected for removal were sold through a timber sale contract and then removed by the volunteers. The firewood will be processed and donated to the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe reservation.