Landscape planning - Forest management is moving toward landscape-level planning to ensure the diversity and sustainability of working forests. Landscape management has typically been focused on huge tracts of public or industrial forest land. But now, most of New Englandís forest land exists as a mosaic of thousands of small (less than 5,000 acres), privately owned forest tracts (Griffith and Alerich 1996), which require different strategies for landscape-level planning. The Holt Research Forest is demographically well-positioned to explore landscape-level approaches to planning and management for this fragmented ownership pattern.
Conservation - A quiet but concerted effort is underway to protect the Back River Estuary from potentially damaging changes in the use of abutting uplands. A local land trust (Lower Kennebec Regional Land Trust), in cooperation with other nonprofit conservation organizations and state and federal agencies, has successfully applied to the North American Wetlands Conservation Council (NAWCC) for more than $1,400,000 to purchase properties and easements in the lower Kennebec River region, with the Back River as the highest priority.
Though the purchases are specifically aimed at tidal wetlands and adjacent upland buffers, larger tracts are sometimes acquired. The 170-acre parcel just south of the Holt Research Forest study area is now owned by Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and was purchased primarily with these funds. This and other lands along the Back River protected by purchase or conservation easements are forming a large area of mostly intact, undivided forest land. To date, more than 700 acres of tidal marshes and uplands have been protected.