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Newsletter Content for Educators

The articles on this page are intended for and available to Cornell Cooperative Extension and partner organizations who can use these for their educational publications. Minor editing is permitted to account for changes in geography or local need, provided the educational message of the article is not altered. If you use these articles, please send an email to Peter Smallidge with the publication date, name of the publication/organization, and the URL (if applicable). Send this information to pjs23@cornell.edu. If you have any questions about the use of these articles, please contact Peter Smallidge.


Clearing a woodland understory: vegetation management that supports reforestation. – The establishment of new plants, particularly tree species, requires that sunlight is available at the ground level. Some species may tolerate less sunlight than other species, but most tree species do best with moderately high light levels.

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Assessing the success of hardwood regeneration – For four decades or more interest in sustainable and “regenerative” forestry has been of primary interest to many people and organizations.

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Treatment of autumn olive and other interfering shrubs – Autumn olive is an introduced species and recognized as invasive because it can readily colonize fields, open woodlands, and may invade the interior of woodlands.

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Treatment of Single Stems of Undesired Woody Plants – There are many circumstances and species of woody shrubs, subcanopy, and canopy trees for which treatment of individual stems might be the optimal strategy.

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Protecting Seedlings and Wildflowers from Deer Browsing – Woodland owners often question why they can’t grow plants that they desire in their woods.

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After Emerald Ash Borer: Considering What to Do When Canopy Trees Die in Your Woodlot – The emerald ash borer (EAB, Agrilus planipennis) will have significant impacts on eastern hardwood forests. In many areas the impact has happened.

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Aren’t they all just “pines”? Conifer Identification – Fall and winter are great seasons to learn about the needle-bearing trees that most people call “pines.” These trees have needles, and may also be called evergreen.

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Promoting Healthy Tree Growth in a Young Forest – The patterns of tree growth in brushy areas of young forest mature is called succession. Forest succession, also called forest development, is typically predictable.

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The Benefit of Markets for Managing Low-Grade Trees – Considerable attention is given to high-value trees, particularly how to grow them and their value when harvested. The harvest of just the high-value trees from a woodland is known as high-grade harvesting, selective cutting, or simply “high-grading.” This unsustainable practice has also been discussed because it diminishes the ecological and financial value of a woodlot. 
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Managing Woodlands to Improve Wildlife Habitat – Most landowners own their land for a variety of reasons, though at any point in time one objective might be of more interest than other objectives. For many woodland owners, they are interested in seeing more wildlife, whether as birds or game species, or just knowing they are providing habitat. Some owners prioritize creating habitat that they know will benefit wildlife, regardless of what they personally see.
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Seasonal Control of American Beech – American beech (Fagus grandifolia) is a native species that has many desirable attributes, but suffers from an insect-disease complex that results in the majority of beech trees dying. 
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Which Walnut Is It? – Is it black walnut or butternut? What’s the difference?
These species are common in some areas of NY, and have numerous positive attributes. It’s not common to have both on the same property, though it is possible. Both are prized for the beauty of their wood, the utility of the walnuts they produce, and their stately appearance. Both have some serious health concerns.
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Getting Started with Small-Scale Maple Syrup Production – Making maple syrup is a time-honored tradition for woodlot owners, and anyone who has even a few maple trees. The process is as simple as boiling sap, but attention to a few details will make for a more pleasant, productive, and safe experience.
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Buckthorn – Control of an Invasive Shrub – Glossy buckthorn (Frangula alnus) and common/European buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica) are common in many parts of NY, and can aggravate many ownership objectives. A variety of chemical and mechanical (i.e., organic) methods are available to control these species.
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Strategies to Improve Your Woodland – Many landowners, especially those new to the process of managing their woodlands, want to know if and how to make improvements. This is a common question that illustrates an interest and commitment by the owner to be more fully invested in their property.
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Harvesting Aesthetics and Forest Sustainability – Forest harvesting, or logging, happens throughout New York. Harvesting is often described with unfavorable terms, but those terms or labels need to be considered relative to some standard or measure of performance. Labels such as good, bad, or ugly are subjective.
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Low-Cost Fence Designs – to Limit Deer Impacts in Woodlands and Sugarbushes – The effects of deer browsing on woodlands and sugarbushes can have long-lasting effects (called “legacy” effects) that persist for decades after deer impacts are reduced. 
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Small Parcels – In New York and most of the eastern states, the greatest proportion of woodland owners have relatively small parcels. A “small” parcel size is not defined, but often considered to be greater than 10 acres, or less than 50 acres.
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Forest Succession – The succession of plant communities is a process that has drawn attention from woodlot owners, ecologists and foresters for decades.
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Logs to Lumber – Wise Use of Renewable Resources – A common feature of managed woods, and an aspect that has made them popular among farmers, woodlot owners and maple producers is the potential to harvest logs and produce boards.
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Integrated Vegetation Management – controlling undesirable woody plants in the forest  – American beech and many other native and non-native woody plants can dominate a woodland, exclude or limit the regeneration of desired plant species, and limit the biodiversity of the site.
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Maintaining a Healthy Sugarbush – A sugarbush is a special type of woodland. Woodlands include a complex mixture of natural processes and attributes such as soil type, elevation, tree species, types of wildlife, history of use, tree age and more. 
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Mixing herbicides – starting and ending concentrations – Interfering plants can complicate the plans of woodland owners and foresters to regenerate desirable trees species, or otherwise enjoy the benefits of their investment. In some circumstances mechanical or organic methods can be used to control interfering plants.
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How to Use Soils information for Woodlot Management  – An understanding of forest soils will hlep owners manage their woods for improved tree health and more efficient growth of trees.
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Other articles available here.

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