by Emily Wafler

In 1988, Massachusetts native, Bruce Bennett, began his ownership of 1,100 acres of forested land in Springfield, New York. While new to New York, Bennett wasn’t new to the practice of resource management. After spending a career as a conservation officer, Bruce was well prepared to begin working towards his goal of managing his woods, starting with a plan based on his objectives. As an avid hunter, he saw the area as prime land to develop for fishing and hunting.

Over the years Bruce has worked to manage his aspens, maples, apples and conifers into early successional ecosystems prime for bird habitats. Bruce also manages some sections of his property for timber sales. Mostly his management involves clear cutting to develop early successional habitats. At first, he only cut every five years but has since made these regeneration cuts a yearly habit in certain parcels in addition to selection cutting and thinning.

Bruce readily credits others with support for his success, especially his good loggers and foresters. The quality loggers that he’s worked with have been a big help in managing his land and doing business. Bruce has worked with several foresters over the years noting that those at a state level have been essential in helping him establish forestry practices and programs. “Look for a forester that will help and wants to achieve your goals and knows how,” says Bruce.

Bruce encourages woodlot owners and their foresters to seek assistance from agencies. Bruce and his forester have worked with the Natural Resource Conservation Service, and he praises their assistance with funding and wildlife habitat creation.

In addition to NYFOA, Bruce is an active member of the Ruffed Grouse Society, an organization that encourages woodlot owners to favor early successional forest management because of its use by several wildlife species. Bruce takes his experiences as a landowner and applies them on a larger scale. Eight years ago, with the help of the Ruffed Grouse Society and NYFOA, Bruce hosted an Early Successional Habitat workshop. Then, last year, again putting his talents to use he hosted a similar event on habitat development. Bruce has also contributed to the Ruffed Grouse Society by hosting multiple benefits in support of the organization. Each year Bruce organizes groups to come hunt on his land, all to raise money in support of the society and the idea of early successional habitats.

As for the future, Bruce hopes to continue his current management practices and contributing to other forest owners. A unique feature of his property, and hopefully maintained into the future, Bruce has two wind turbines that followed from a relationship with Noble Environmental. Next on the horizon, Bruce wants to construct several ponds to allow for fishing and as habitat for other wildlife.

Yet, for now Bruce hopes to continue to enjoy the land the way he always has. For years, his forest has been a vacation spot for him, his wife, and two daughters all who enjoy a camp they built on the property. Today, the camp is still put to good use with frequent hunting trips with Bruce and his friends. However, as he looks towards the future, Bruce one day hopes to pass along the land, wildlife, and good times the forest has brought him to the next generation.

Emily Wafler, Cornell University Coop Extension, ForestConnect Program Assistant, Department of Natural Resources, Ithaca, NY. elw224@cornell.edu

If you would like to be profiled for a future issue visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ownerprofile or send an email to jeffjosephwoodworker@gmail.com


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