This summer we started developing a multi-year land management plan for our solar field on the North side of Adamsville Rd. The plan is inspired in part by: recommendations in Mass Audubon Society’s Best Management Practices for Nesting Grassland Birds; by the ecological vision and theory for temperate climate permaculture set out by Jacke and Toensmeier’s Edible Forest Gardens; and by the collective knowledge, experience, and vision of Stowe Farm Community members. Our plan intends to balance and integrate agricultural uses (haying, livestock browse, etc) with ecological management of our mixed riparian, forest edge, and grassland habitat to support pollinators, birds, and other wildlife. In particular, our plan intends: to minimize mowing during bird nesting season; develop valuable livestock browse along field edges; and cultivate extensive areas of productive, beautiful, and diverse vegetation as a transition between the forest edge and cultivated grassland areas.
The first weekend in September, we had a work party to begin implementing this plan on the ground. In addition to mowing areas of the field that have been regularly mowed over the past several years, we began clearing multiflora rose, bittersweet, and goldenrod from a large area at the North end of this field that we plan to mow on 2 year rotations. At some point in autumn, when goats have finished browsing another large area along the Western edge of the field, we will clear additional areas that we will plan to mow on 2 year and 4 year rotations.