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On managing, restoring and enhancing land
ACRES Land Trust manages land with the goal of creating minimal disturbance. It’s for this reason that ACRES trails are natural, offer few built structures, and are available in a limited number of the places we protect.
In nature preserves, ACRES’ priority is giving nature space to thrive.
At times, as is the case with non-native invasive plants, our team determines that with support, nature will have a better chance to overcome challenges that human disturbance typically created in the first place. So, we work to remove non-native plants such as autumn olive, bush honeysuckle, Japanese stiltgrass and a few more, to ensure native plants thrive.
Sometimes, the amount of disturbance created by non-native brush is intense, the patches can be quite dense, calling for an intense, targeted response.
If you came upon a surprising scene of mulched stems, this is what happened. Not to worry, native seeds in the soils have been waiting for this opportunity and will quickly fill in the space with green growth.
In the next growing season, ACRES staff will return, monitoring the site. If native seeds don’t emerge naturally, ACRES will sew native seeds (or plant plugs or saplings, depending on the place) on the land.
While ACRES typically protects 500 acres of working farmland annually, we also work to restore some of our farmlands to forest or wetland, depending on its nature.
Enhancement is land management that alters a system, but does not actually restore it. ACRES deems enhancement necessary when an area has been altered so much that a significant altering will best support the natural system. For example, where we protect land with installed ponds, ACRES may, in time, work to move the earth banks around the pond into a slope system more similar to natural wetlands.
It’s easy to see how people, our team included, couldn’t possibly fully understand a natural system. Our land management practice is built on humility and respect. We try to only do what we deem necessary – nothing more. It’s clear to ACRES that supported natural places know how to recover; sometimes a little nudge is all that’s needed.