– by Sue and John Leavitt

The Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies (YF&ES) owns and manages 10,880 acres of forestland in Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Vermont. Thesemake up seven forests of which th e Yale-Myers Forest in Woodstock, Union, Ashford and Eastford is the largest. The Yale-Myers Forest, which is used for educational purposes and is also managed to generate income, is one of the oldest sustainable forests in the US. It is both SFI certified and a Tree Farm. The goals of ownership are to provide educational, research and professional opportunities for the faculty and students as well as serving as an asset to the Yale’s investment portfolio.

Between 1915-1918 George Myers bought up 7400+ acres in Woodstock, Union, Ashford and Eastford that had been cut over. The land was then donated by Myers to Yale School of Forestry in 1931. This magnificent piece of property has been used to demonstrate a cycle of The Yale-Myers Forest sustainable forestry and land rehabilitation which has been taking place for over 100 years. Forest income pays for the maintenance of boundaries, roads, etc through the various projects undertaken under the management plan.

When Myers owned this land in Connecticut it was managed by a staff of about 15 people. In the 1940s this forest suffered some very serious damage because of blow downs. It became necessary to let some of staff go because of reduced income. In the 60s, the forest once again became more profitable due to the growth of young hardwoods. Presently the School of Forestry is in the veneer business – with red oak and a developing crop of veneer-quality sugar maple.

From an educational standpoint there is the silent history of research. Stand dynamics have been studied at Yale-Myersfor many years. Many classes are taught in “hands-on” mode right in the forest.  David Ellum, one of the speakers at our annual meeting, is presently studying how canopy manipulation affects wild flowers. Currently, other research in applied forestry includes aquatic research, small mammal ecology, trophic food webs, and the effects of “highgrading.”

The Yale-Myers Forest is a wonderful resource open to us, its current neighbors, right in our own backyard. The forest may be used for passive recreation. The trails are indicated on a map which may be found at http://www.yale.edu/schoolforest/IMG/yalemyersforestmap.jpg

This article originally appeared in the June 2003 ECFLA/WDLT Newsletter.