The Amherst Conservation Commission spends much of its time on property management tasks. These management tasks are necessary to make the properties available to Amherst citizens for recreation, and to use the the land in ways that assure "the proper utilization and protection of the natural resources", as required by the New Hampshire state RSA for conservation commissions.
Amherst forests are managed primarily to preserve a variety of habitats and to control disease and pests. We also can provide a little income to support our work.
In 1996, the Conservation Commission had a forest management plan developed by Charles Koch, forester, for some of the Amherst conservation areas. Get the plan at the bottom of this page. Inventories were taken of the standing timber on the areas, as well as other features of the land, including streams, wet areas, cavity/den trees, mast, browse, groundcover, and dead/down trees.
The management plan is not directed toward producing a certain timber output. The Commission's forest management goals place a high priority on wildlife, recreation, aesthetic value, aquifer protection and invasives mitigation with a lower priority on income. The objective is one of producing forest conditions most suitable for as many benefits as possible. Wildlife habitat will be enhanced by maintaining or creating, browse and cover; seed (acorn and nut) production; cavities, snags and perches; herbaceous vegetation, grasses and woody seedlings; deer yards; and vernal pools. A diversity of forest habitats with a number of forest layers within the habitats will be maintained. The forest structure, will include trees ranging in age from seedlings to antiques more than 110 years old. Skid trails will be incorporated into the existing trail system, as needed.
Harvests of 905,515 board feet of sawtimber and 675 cords of cordwood were produced during the 15 years between 1997 and 2012. This has resulted in net revenues of $100,798 over those 15 years, or an average of $6,700 a year. The Amherst Conservation Commission has used this income entirely to fund management and maintenance of conservation areas, including, forests, trails, and meadows, and to help with the purchase of additional conservation property. Harvests in the Arnold-Haseltine-Lorden and Haseltine forests are ongoing in 2016.
The forests managed by the Amherst Conservation Commission, under the direction of forester Charles Koch, have been recognized as a Model Forest by the Forest Guild. The Forest Guild's Model Forest program is intended to promote and demonstrate excellent forestry and to exemplify the guiding principles of the Forest Guild. See https://forestguild.org/MF_Amherst