By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN
GILFORD — Squirrels and deer love them. Wild turkey, ruffled grouse and wood ducks crave them and even the pesky blue jay will try to steal an red oak acorn or two from an unwitting adversary.
Because of their high carbohydrate content and their rough shells that can take an entire winter to desiccate, the town of Gilford has given the go ahead to the Kimball Wildlife Forest Committee for a team of UNH Foresters to conduct a limited project designed to promote the growth of the red oak within the wildlife preserve.
Technically, crop tree release is a scientific way of increasing individual tree growth and seed production. In reality, a team of foresters will select 60 of the healthiest red oak trees that are in the interior of the forest and eliminate the competitors around it.
This, said UNH Forest Researcher Ethan Belair, will allow the 60 selected trees to grow a better crown, produce better quality timber, and allow for a "seed orchard" around its base to provide nourishment for the critters that live there. He said the red oak is the best producer of acorns of all of the oak trees.
Each tree will be evaluated and documented as part of the initial selection process and will be re-evaluated in five years prior to a possible harvest.
The board's role in the management of the Kimball Wildlife Forest is one of fiduciary responsibility as the board is the only authority that can expend money from the trust fund managed by the forest trustees.
The project will cost the Kimbal Wildlife Forest Trust Fund $6,250 leaving a balance of $230,505.
Sandra McGonagle is the chair of the fund and she spoke in favor of the project saying that Charlotte Kimball was the last Kimball to live on the properly and her primary concern before her death was for the forest being used as a wildlife sanctuary.
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