Forestry for the Future: A film introduces forestry to landowners with a 65-year study

By Maren Granstrom

*Editor’s note: Forester Maren Granstrom voluntarily submitted this article to Forests for Maine’s Future and Maine TREE to highlight the “Forestry for the Future” video she produced as part of her Master’s of Science work at the University of Maine’s School of Forest Resources. Maine TREE claims no ownership of the video and is sharing only to highlight the insights it provides for the Forests of Maine’s Future. 

So, you have a woodland and might want to manage it. What information do you need to make a sound, well-informed decision? That’s the question we started with when putting together the 26-minute film “Forestry for the Future: Sustainable Management Lessons from Maine.”

More than a few topics came to mind: First, an introduction to some kinds of harvesting and silviculture. How economics influences what to grow. The effect of harvesting on wildlife habitat. Pests and diseases. Climate change and carbon storage. In summer 2019, we enlisted folks around the state who could speak to these topics and more, and captured their explanations and ideas on film.

And the backbone running through the whole thing? The research at the Penobscot Experimental Forest (PEF), a 4,000+ acre property across the river from Bangor, where forestry experiments and measurements have continued uninterrupted for over 65 years. The U.S. Forest Service and UMaine have established several extensive studies to examine the outcomes of different kinds of management, and the results are striking.

In 20ish-acre blocks, side-by-side, forest management has created stands that look as different (at least to a moderately trained eye) as night and day. While some folks can visit the PEF in person, we thought a film could capture the effects of harvesting in a way that words, photos, and graphs just can’t.  

What happens if you just keep cutting all the trees that can be sold? What if you take only the “worst first”? How does thinning change how a forest looks and grows? What are the most important habitat features for forest birds? How can a forester help?

If you’re curious, give it a watch, and share it with your friends. The more we know about forestry’s long-term outcomes, the better job we can do managing our land.

A big thank you to everyone involved in the film: Filmmaker Scott Sell, and Pam Wells, Laura Kenefic, Mindy Crandall, Keith Kanoti, Sally Stockwell, Bob Seymour, Allison Kanoti, Alec Giffen, and Barrie Brusila. 

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