307 Applebee Rd, Milton Mills, NH 03852

Workshops with Charlie Moreno: Sustainable Forestry for Logging and Woodworking

Moose Mountains Regional Greenways
Box 191, Union, NH  03887



Date: 11/15/2018


Workshops with Charlie Moreno: Sustainable Forestry for Logging and Woodworking


Two free forestry workshops offered by Branch Hill Farm (BHF) and Moose Mountains Regional Greenways (MMRG) attracted a total of three dozen participants from as far away as Boston and Lexington, MA and Concord, Meredith, and Portsmouth, NH. They came to learn about sustainable forestry as it applies to timber harvesting and its connection to wood and woodworking. Consulting forester Charlie Moreno led the workshops on Branch Hill Farm’s sustainably managed forest lands in Milton and Milton Mills.


At each workshop, Branch Hill Farm owner and manager Cynthia Wyatt welcomed the group and described the guiding principles behind BHF’s forest management. “The type of demonstration-harvesting implemented on these conserved forestlands, under Charlie Moreno’s direction, fulfills our goal to sustainably manage these forests. For the trustees of our family lands, it’s not just about the income; it’s more about ensuring that there is a healthy variety of species and ages restored to an historically overcut forest.”  


The first workshop, ‘Logging Showcase,’ featured on-site demonstrations of three different methods of timber harvesting: cut to length, bio-mass, and micro-harvesting. Each method was discussed by Moreno, who explained, “My job is to carry out the vision of the landowner and hire the crew with harvesting techniques best-suited to the planned harvest.  You’ll see my blue paint on all trees to be taken — some saw logs and some low quality trees to be weeded out.  Wm. Day & Sons, Inc. has efficient state-of-the-art computerized logging equipment to carry out both cut-to-length and biomass techniques. They can sort and process the logs for their highest value as saw logs, pulpwood, chips, or firewood.  Independent logger Larry Hersom specializes in fine tuning or micro harvesting and timber stand improvement with a small skidder and custom-outfitted 4-wheeled vehicle.”


At the end of the workshop, attendee Chris Bancroft commented, “This was a great opportunity offered by Charlie and Cynthia.  It’s not often you see all the varieties of logging methodologies in one place, and can walk through and discuss the strengths of each.  It was a very informative session and I’ll be able to apply it to the management of our own wood lot in Wakefield.”


The purpose of the second forestry workshop, ‘Wood: From Forest to Workbench,’ was to make the connection between the wood that woodworkers love to use for woodworking and the forests it comes from. The forest venue of this workshop, BHF’s Branch River West, is sustainably managed to have a diversity of ages and species so it can be harvested every 15 years. Moreno pointed out different trees such as white pine, sugar maple, yellow birch, red oak and basswood, and compared milled planks of each type of wood, discussing the tree growth and woodworking characteristics of each. For example, clear pine boards having no knots are derived from trees without lower branches. When conditions are favorable, young white pines may grow in dense clusters, shooting up tall and shedding their side branches. When they become too crowded, a micro logging technique can be used to thin the stand without damaging the desirable trees intended for eventual harvest.


Much practical woodworking information was shared. Moreno’s associate, forester Nick Lanzer, showed the group how to estimate the number of board feet in a standing tree. Participants learned that the desirable woodworking wood called ‘tiger maple’, having decorative curly patterning rather than the usual straight grain of maple, is revealed only after the tree is cut and sawn. Attendees exchanged wood drying and storage techniques. Moreno also gave examples from his personal woodworking experience. He has built a number of different furniture pieces, including a bureau, out of wood from local local black cherry, another desirable woodworking species found in NH forests.


MMRG, a non-profit land trust, works to conserve and connect important water resources, farm and forest lands, wildlife habitats, and recreational land in Brookfield, Farmington, Middleton, Milton, New Durham, Wakefield, and Wolfeboro. Throughout the year, MMRG offers many educational opportunities to inform all ages about the benefits of our region’s natural resources. For more information and a calendar of upcoming events, visit www.mmrg.info.  Branch Hill Farm/the Carl Siemon Family Charitable Trust works to protect open space and working forests and to educate the public about sound forestry, conservation and agricultural practices; see www.branchillfarm.org.


Logger Larry Hersom explains conventional and ‘micro’ harvesting
Charlie M explaining equipment used for biomass harvesting
charlie explaining tree growth rings (Kari)
charlie explaining tree growth rings (Kari)
charlie and woodworking group looking at planks


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