Forest board receives grant

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AUBURN — The Lewiston-Auburn Community Forest Board has recently been awarded a grant from the L & A Fund to support a forest management plan for the City of Auburn. The community forests of both cities are made up of all publicly owned lands and all street trees.

The Auburn community forest consists of 554 acres with 480 acres of productive forest. The forest management plan will focus on the larger forested parcels which include Mt. Apatite Park, Pettengill Park, Sherwood Forest, Auburn Heights, East Auburn woods and publicly owned parcels on South Main Street and Broad Street.

During the late 1700s and 1800s, the Auburn acreage was used for agricultural purposes such as cropland and pasture. When agricultural use ended, the land reverted to forest. Although the parcels have been harvested over the years, the management plan is the first formal assessment of the Auburn properties by a Maine Licensed Forester.

The goals of the management plan are to keep the land maintained as aesthetic and productive woodland, while maintaining existing uses and protecting sensitive habitat, flora and fauna.

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The plan includes assessment of nontimber resources such as wildlife, water quality, trail maintenance, as well as timber inventory. The report makes recommendations for partial harvest treatments designed to improve the forest for the future.

Lewiston and Auburn are one of many communities in Maine to have a community forest board. Established in 2000, the board has promoted tree-planting and urban forest management earning both cities the designation of “Tree City US,” going on seven years.

A community forest is considered an ecosystem where people, trees and other vegetation, soil, wildlife, and natural resources all interact. The community forest includes trees in yards, along streets, in parks, and around the buildings in the community. Between both cities, there are more than 1,000 acres of publicly owned forest, collectively known as a community forest.

The board undertakes projects to manage the forested acres, develop an inventory of street trees, provide education programs and initiate long-range plans. The board receives no public funding and relies on in-kind services and grants. Board members, all volunteers, participate in National Arbor Week by distributing free tree seedlings to Lewiston and Auburn residents.

Lewiston-Auburn Community Forest Board members are Jay Braunscheidel, president; Lois Wagner, vice chairwoman; John Painter, secretary; David Griswold; Chris Bakkila; Suzanne Roy; Robyn Holman; Rick Shea; Doug Boyd; Bruce Damon; Steve Murch; and Rick Hersom.

For more information, contact Braunscheidel at Jbraunscheidel@ifmgt.com or 632-5854.

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