Click on one of the following projects for a description of KMF's work.
Click here for a list of downloadable media stories about KMF.
- Spruce Budworm Forum
- Aquatic Connectivity
- Recreation in the Maine Woods
- Downeast Deer and Riparian Habitat
- Featured Project: Western Mountains and Lakes
Keeping Maine’s Forests has been instrumental in providing a forum for interest groups to learn about Maine’s impending spruce budworm outbreak, and to provide input to industry and state leaders about the concerns of the environmental and conservation communities.
In 2013, signs of an impending outbreak of spruce budworm in Maine’s northern forest became evident. For those who are old enough to have witnessed the outbreak in the 1970s, the news raised alarm.
The eastern spruce budworm is believed to be the most damaging forest insect in Maine and North America. Outbreaks of the insect that kills balsam fir and spruce trees occur every 30 to 60 years. Severe defoliation in southern Quebec as of 2016 covers an area the size of Maine.
During the last outbreak, the insect decimated up to 25 million cords of spruce and fir − 21 percent of all fir trees in the state, according to the Maine Forest Products Council. The infestation cost the state’s forest-based economy hundreds of millions of dollars and had lasting effects on forest management practices and regulation, and wildlife.
The Maine Spruce Budworm Task Force formed in 2013 to study the economic and ecological effects that another outbreak might have on the state and a strategy to minimize those effects. Leading the task force were Robert Wagner, director of Center for Research on Sustainable Forests and Cooperative Forestry Research Unit the University of Maine, and KMF members Patrick Strauch of the Maine Forest Products Council, and Doug Denico, director of the Maine Forest Service. Task force teams included about 65 experts who focused on wood supply and economic impacts; monitoring and protection; forest management; policy, regulation and funding; wildlife habitat; communications and outreach; and research priorities.
A draft of the report was released for public review in November, 2014. That month, Keeping Maine’s Forests convened a forum for interest groups, regulators, and lay people to hear the Task Force’s finding and recommendations, and to provide feedback. The questions and comments provided to the Task Force by forum attendees helped to shape the final report.
KMF continues to follow the outbreak, learn how it will affect the forest products industry and environment of northern Maine, and help to disseminate information so that Maine can manage the damage from this indigenous insect
Go to http://www.sprucebudwormmaine.org for the latest news and data.
Working with state, federal, and nonprofit fisheries habitat managers, this KMF project offers technical assistance to identify, prioritize, and remove barriers to fish passage in high priority watersheds. Training programs, and/or technical and financial assistance are provided to landowners, depending their interests and needs.
Maine contains 90% of the intact brook trout habitat in the eastern United States. Brook trout are a critical species for the recreational fishing industry in northern Maine; improving brook trout habitat will have direct economic benefits to guides and tourism businesses in the region who will be able to claim access to the best trout fishing in the east.
However, logging road stream crossings – culverts and bridges – can block fish passage, depending on their state of repair. In the lower and mid Penobscot River watershed alone, 770 severe culvert fish barriers have been identified. Investing coordinated resources and expertise to improve stream crossings and stabilize stream banks is a wise use of private and public funds with significant potential economic benefits.
Undersized or ill-designed culverts are a problem throughout Maine, both on public roadways and smaller roads throughout working forest lands. Several KMF partner organizations including Downeast Lakes Land Trust, Appalachian Mountain Club, Maine Audubon and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, are involved in efforts to educate people about the problems created by improper stream culverts and ways to replace them so that water quality and fish habitat are restored.
This video by US Fish & Wildlife Service helps to explain what happens to a stream when culverts are improperly installed and how to restore them to more natural conditions.
To date, NRCS has worked with the Appalachian Mountain Club to remove six culverts on their property. NRCS engineers designed the remediation work to remove the culverts and restore the stream banks in accordance with the landowner’s wishes. Prior to construction, stream monitoring data was collected, and brook trout were removed from the construction site. USFW secured the necessary permits and funded the project in its entirety. There were no costs to the landowner, but the landowner was responsible for hiring the contractor. The removal of the three culverts has reconnected three miles of stream habitat identified by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife as wild brook habitat.
MPBN radio story on stream restoration work
Keeping Maine’s Forests is coordinating with other interested adjacent landowners to broaden the effort within the Pleasant River basin and to other regions of Maine.
Downeast Deer and Riparian Habitat Project Summary
Fisheries Habitat Restoration – slideshow (5 MB)
Maine is unique in its vast forests that are both privately owned and managed, and unfragmented. Some states have large forests, but they are usually public lands. Other states have privately owned and managed forests, but generally not on the scale of Maine’s multimillion-acre forest landscape.
Maine is also unique in its tradition of allowing public access to private lands for recreational uses. Mainers are proud of their history of private stewardship and public access; yet, many visitors have expectations of what they will see and experience in the North Woods that are more appropriate to public lands or parks.
KMF is developing printed and electronic media to inform visitors about what they can expect to experience in the North Woods of Maine while enjoying the many recreational activities available. KMF hopes to improve visitors’ experiences and appreciation for Maine’s special heritage. KMF is considering augmenting the training for recreation business’s front line workers to help deliver these messages.
The white-tailed deer is the most important big game species in Maine, both economically and culturally. Deer traditionally winter in “yards” – mature softwood stands – often located on or near streams they use as travel corridors. Dense coniferous stands provide protection from wind and cold and reduce snow depths. Management of stream corridors to provide these dense stands has the additional benefit of enhancing aquatic habitat for salmon, brook trout, and other valuable game species.
Currently, there are no economic incentives for landowners to engage in deer habitat management. The goal of this project is to create a positive, non-regulatory incentive for landowners to manage for deer habitat along streams over a large block of land, thereby improving deer and fish habitat. Improving the populations of these game species will, in turn, benefit the recreation industry in Downeast Maine.
Participating partners in this project own and/or manage approximately 1 million acres of forest in eastern Maine, and have established cooperative relationships as neighboring Downeast forest managers. MDIFW is a central partner in this effort as well.
- Downeast Lakes Land Trust (DLLT)
- American Forest Management AFM)
- Maine Bureau of Parks & Lands (BPL)
- Lyme Timber
- Passamaquoddy Tribe
- Wagner Forest Management
Project partners DLLT, MDIFW, BPL, Lyme Timber, and the Passamaquoddy Tribe have mapped priority deer habitat and riparian corridors in the Downeast region extending from the Machias to the Saint Croix rivers. MDIFW is currently adding additional historical data to these maps. The partners will meet again to establish priorities (including a core of habitat corridors), will work to develop landowner incentives and mechanisms, and will then evaluate them with industrial forest managers within the project area.
Located at the heart of the 26 million-acre Northern Forest lies a contiguous block of one million acres stretching from the Upper Androscoggin River watershed in New Hampshire through the cross-border Mahoosuc Range and up to the High Peaks of Maine. This region contains exceptionally productive, large blocks of working forest, famed waterways and wetland complexes, and some of New England’s most dramatic high elevation ridgelines and mountain peaks. It is home to small rural villages like Errol, New Hampshire, towns like Bethel, Maine, and larger economic hubs like the noted forest manufacturing centers of Berlin, New Hampshire and Rumford, Maine.
Placing particular focus on the Upper Androscoggin River to Mahoosucs/High Peaks, The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is creating a national model of integrated efforts in forest conservation, economic development, green energy, and community well-being by:
- strengthening the forest products economy;
- broadening the utilization of wood energy;
- enhancing jobs in the nature-based tourism industry; and
- creating or enhancing payments for ecosystem services;
- maintaining a stable base of forestland through landowner incentives and permanent conservation.
- strengthening public-private partnerships.
Help increase competitive advantage, visibility, and market share for local wood producers by providing targeted technical assistance and grant funding.
Catalyze dispersed adoption of biomass energy by facilitating a transition from fossil fuels to woody biomass for heat in local communities, businesses,and residences.
Enhance tourism jobs and related economic activity while improving visitor experiences by delivering workforce development, technical assistance, and branding.
Increase and diversify funding streams for private landowners through incentive payments for stewardship that enhances a range of ecosystem services. Model new tools and practices for landowners to earn revenue from emerging markets for carbon sequestration and water quality that are provided by sustainable forest management.
Permanently conserve key pieces of the region’s forests through a diverse mix of conservation tools, including private working forest conservation easements, community forest acquisitions, and targeted enhancements to existing state and federal lands.
Enhance the quality of existing partnerships by increasing organizational coordination.