307 Applebee Rd, Milton Mills, NH 03852
Branch Hill Farm’s 3,500 woodland acres are a major local natural resource. The forest provides fresh air and clean water, carbon storage and timber, as well as places to recreate and refresh the spirit. It also harbors a diversity of plants, wildlife, and micro fauna. The forest helps protect the Salmon Falls River watershed and is the attractive backdrop to local scenery.
Branch Hill Farm forests span Strafford and Carroll Counties. They are professionally managed by licensed foresters, Charlie Moreno (Strafford) and Dan Stepanauskas (Carroll).
The Vision of Managed Forests at Branch Hill Farm
-Charlie Moreno, BHF forester for Strafford County, 2008-present
Branch Hill Farm’s forests are carefully and sustainably managed. Recapturing the qualities of the once great forests that stood in the area is the core, long-term silvicultural purpose. Pre-settlement forests were diverse, structurally complex, and resilient. While the original forest cannot be recreated, we believe it is possible to evoke many of its attributes over time. This includes managing towards a mixed- aged forest that includes a contingent of very old trees (200 to 300+ years), maintaining an invasive-free forest, and reintroducing lost species such as American chestnut.
An evolving showcase of ecological forestry using innovative silvicultural techniques can be found at Branch Hill Farm. Projects are planned on “forest time”, with goals a century in the future. Nurturing a healthy, diverse, resilient, and valuable forest for the future lies at the heart of Branch Hill Farm’s conservation mission.
-Dan Stepanauskas, BHF Forester for Carroll County, 2008-present
The Branch Hill Farm forests, located in the Town of Wakefield, are managed with a long term perspective. The adaptation of the forest to climate is of paramount concern. The growth of these well-stocked forests helps to slow the rate of climate change. When thinnings and timber harvests occur, they provide a sustainable source of economic benefits and wood products to our local communities. Branch Hill seeks to grow forests with resilient, climate adapted tree species. Matching tree species to sites where they will prosper is ever more important in the face of a warming climate. The protection of nest and den trees, unusual species, old trees, soft and hard mast trees, deer yards, beaver habitats, and dense covers are inherent in the management program.
The forests have tumbling brooks, rich wetland habitats, tall forest canopies for scarlet tanagers and black throated green warblers, stands of old forest, along with habitats for everything from fungi to bears. Forests are a living organism with thousands of components that interact symbiotically. Above all, we manage the land to keep all of these pieces in place.