Sustainable forestry yields wood for furniture and healthy land

Fri, 06/14/2019 - 9:15am

A person doesn’t have to be stuck in traffic to notice that on the grass in front of the headquarters of Midcoast Conservancy on Route 1 in Edgecomb, there is a wide array of custom made outdoor furniture, made from local and sustainably harvested wood.

Tim Libby, Midcoast Conservancy’s manager of forestry, said, “Our 1,000 acre preserve in Jefferson, Hidden Valley Nature Center, is a state and national award-winning example of sustainable forestry. We actively manage about 15 acres or about 1.5% of the nature center each year. Our thinning is done to create desirable habitat and to encourage faster growth of the healthiest trees. The trees we cut are either left to provide habitat and replenish the soil or removed for turning into value added products.

“‘Value added’ is the rule we apply to the trees we remove. This is a win/win for us and our members. This time of the year we are busy producing products like firewood, lumber, picnic tables, live edge benches and tables, and timber frame buildings. We produce firewood for our own needs and we often produce enough to sell firewood wood to nearby members.”

Jody Jones, Midcoast Conservancy’s executive director, explains, “A land trust committed to protecting land and helping others be better stewards of their land in the most heavily forested state in the nation must know quite a bit about forestry and the forest ecosystem. What kind of forestry is best for wildlife, birds? Sequestering carbon? How does the season affect harvesting options? What are the important considerations for vernal pools, seasonal streams, water crossings?”

The first of three yearly hands-on timber frame classes was held in April and the result was a rugged 12’ x 20’ timberframe building now on the land of a lucky resident. The next class is in July and the final course of the season is in October. Each class is limited to 8 students, so reserve a spot early. Each session is four-day course that culminates with a frame-raising of the final product. To learn more about the July class, go to

Tim said, “I love working in the woods and what makes it even better is when a visitor stops and asks what I’m doing. It almost always leads to a conversation about what they might do with their own land.” Tim adds, “Sharing our forestry expertise is how Midcoast Conservancy leverages the work on our land to help others be better stewards of their land.”

To learn more about Midcoast Conservancy, and its sustainable forestry programs, go to or call (207) 389-5150.