Arcadia Management Area

A pond in the Arcadia Management Area. Photo courtesy of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management

EXETER — The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management will begin a timber harvesting project this summer in the Arcadia Management Area.

The department said that the project aims to salvage oak species affected by repeated defoliations from forest tent and gypsy moth caterpillars, improve the overall health of the forest and wildlife habitat, and reduce fire risk. DEM said it would announce the harvesting dates.

Trees will be cut in an area of about 200 acres east of Mount Tom Trail and south of Route 165. The work will  include thinning out the tree canopy and removing dead trees to promote new growth and improve the forest’s resilience against pests and storms. "This is not clear-cutting; DEM foresters strategically selected the trees to be harvested and will closely monitor the project to ensure that only dead trees are removed," the DEM said in a press release. Low, dense shrubs and stumps will remain to enhance wildlife habitat and promote forest regrowth.

DEM’s Division of Forest Environment, which manages 40,000 acres of state-owned  forestland, is overseeing the project. The cutting will be done by state-registered wood operators who have bid on the project, and DEM foresters will supervise and monitor the operation. The department said that the project would support the rural economy "by providing registered wood operators with timber to sell; harvested trees are often used for wood chips, mulch, and firewood."

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