Welcome to the Massachusetts Woodlands Institute.
The Massachusetts Woodlands Institute (MWI) is a non-profit organization that encourages and assists landowners in responsibly managing their woodlands. We believe that taking an active role in managing your woods will benefit wildlife, the local community and economy, and can provide you with financial, recreational, and personal rewards.
MWI is subsidiary organization of the Franklin Land Trust (FLT), and is housed at shared offices in Shelburne Falls, MA. By working with FLT, we are able to offer expertise and assistance to landowners about permanently conserving their land, as well as managing and caring for the land.
MWI administers the Massachusetts Forest Stewardship Program and the Foresters for the Birds Program in partnership with MA Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). We also partner with Massachusetts Audubon, the Massachusetts Forest Alliance, and the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) to help landowners access funding to implement their plans through the Western Massachusetts Woodlands for Wildlife project.
We collaborate to provide expertise, assistance and funding for landowners who want to develop long-term plans for their forests, create habitat for wildlife, and work toward enriching the land we value.
Forest Stewardship Plans: available to all Massachusetts landowners
Foresters for the Birds: (Bird Habitat Assessment Plans) available to Massachusetts landowners with a Forest Stewardship Plan in all towns west of the Connecticut River
Western Mass Woodlands for Wildlife: Funding is set aside for forestry practices through the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) is available to landowners in 28 towns in northwest MassachusettsSee map below for program eligibility areas.
Why We Do What We Do
Why do we care about woodlands?The woodlands of Massachusetts are always working to provide essential services to the people and wildlife of the Commonwealth. Our goal is to steward these lands for people and wildlife.
Consider these facts:
Massachusetts forest land is vast
MWI published Profiles of Working Woodlands and assisted landowners in managing their woods and creatively utilizing the resulting wood products. The sister organization, the Mass Woodlands Coop, sold its own locally sourced wood flooring, Home Grown wood. MWI also assisted landowners and businesses in obtaining Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) "green" Certification on their land. Today, the MA Department of Conservation and Recreation provides FSC certification for landowners and Chain of Custody certification for wood businesses.
Much of our forest land is not in permanent protection, or under stewardship planning
Our forest land is mature, with only a small amount of either young or old forest
Our forests work for people and wildlife
Why do we care about birds and wildlife?
Birds pique our imagination. Birds are the most frequently encountered wild animal, and present us with a daily reminder of the wonder of biodiversity on our planet. It may be a Black-capped Chickadee on subzero morning in January, or a Ruffed Grouse exploding from the forest floor in June. Throughout the year, in all weather, chances are you can find a bird within a few minutes. This steady presence, along with the riotous arrival of migrants from Central and South America in late spring, fills our woods and fields with song, and enriches our days.
The key to maintaining our diversity of wildlife is maintaining a diversity of habitats. No matter what the age, type or size of the forest, the birds on that plot tell us all about the health of the land. When we protect bird communities and their habitat, we protect and improve the entire system of plants, insects, and animals that shares that habitat with birds.
Consider these facts:
We need more young forests. Long term research shows that birds that breed only in young woodlands are declining.
We need to have large blocks of forest. Some birds that are sensitive to forest fragmentation are declining in the eastern part of the state, but still common in the western forests.
Some species need rich cover. Many species of forest nesting birds need a rich understory and mid-story to provide camouflage for their nests.
Even the species that breed in our mature forests may bring their fledglings to younger forests as the young are learning to feed.
MWI is an equal opportunity employer.
© 2014 Massachusetts Woodlands Institute. All Rights Reserved.
A subsidiary of the Franklin Land Trust.