Low-Impact Forestry

What is the Low-Impact Forestry Program?

The Low-Impact Forestry (LIF) program at MOFGA is a group of loggers, foresters, landowners, farmers and interested persons educating about, practicing and advocating for ecologically-based and economically-sound forest practices. We practice and endorse forestry that seeks to reduce the known harmful impacts of logging, and promote the social and ecological benefits. The LIF program hosts workshops year-round covering all sorts of forestry related topics from logging with draft animals to home firewood production. The LIF staff also participates in collaborative logging projects that explore creative forest management and contracts that benefit both landowner and logger.

The 9 Principles of Low-Impact Forestry

1. LIF recognizes that forest ecosystems are more complex than we currently understand, and therefore operates thoughtfully with caution and humility as first principles

2. LIF believes that wood products can be grown and harvested in a way that maintains the other ecosystem services that fully functioning forests provide

3. LIF requires that harvesting operations minimize damage to unharvested trees, soils, and water quality

4. LIF promotes growing and harvesting durable, long-lasting and high-value forest products 

5. LIF recognizes the value of forests as a climate change mitigation tool and promotes carbon sequestration and storage as an important goal of forest management

6. LIF incorporates climate change adaptation and resilience strategies in forest management plans, forest roads and trails, recreational and other activities, and harvests

7. LIF considers forest management on a multi-generational timescale

8. LIF believes that managed multi-aged forests with late-successional characteristics, large-diameter trees, and high stocking should be more common on the landscape 

9. LIF promotes payment structures that allow land managers and forest practitioners to do careful work while making a sustainable living

Workshops and Events

The Low-Impact Forestry program hosts seminars and workshops for all skill levels and interests. For a complete listing of upcoming LIF events and registration information please visit the LIF Trainings page.

Featured Articles

What is Low-Impact Forestry?

By Noah Gleason-Hart “Low-impact forestry is all about logging with horses, right?” is a question I often hear when I talk about the work I do at MOFGA with the Low-Impact Forestry (LIF) Program. It’s a question I always appreciate, both because it highlights how low-impact forestry is perceived within the larger community, and because

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MOFGA woodlot

Forest Management Plans: You Can Get There from Here

By Noah Gleason-Hart If thoughtful forest stewardship is a long, winding road, then a forest management plan (FMP) is the map that can lead to a healthy, complex and productive forest. These documents – written by licensed foresters – describe the current state of a forest, define the landowner’s objectives and prescribe actions a landowner

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Forest Stewardship: It’s More Than Cutting Trees

By Noah Gleason-Hart Logging is our most dramatic opportunity to create change, either destructive or restorative in our woodlots, so we focus much of our low-impact forestry work on promoting careful harvest practices. However, commercial logging is a relatively infrequent event on a given property, perhaps every 10 to 15 years. A landowner may see

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American Beech

  A beech tree severely affected by beech bark disease. Postharvest view of a gap created during winter 2020 firewood cutting. Slash has been cut small and will decompose over the next few years; think of it as fertilizer for the next generation of trees. First flush of shiitake mushrooms on beech logs after a spring rain

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Cost of Carelessness in the Woodlot

Heavy damage done to a red oak during harvest (conducted by a different owner). The entire butt log is ruined, and decay likely extends higher than shown here. 1988 Tree Farmer C5D – a mid-sized cable skidder The pine tree discussed here, eight months after being damaged. By Noah Gleason-Hart Photos by the author Low-impact forestry’s guiding

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