AUGUSTA, Maine -- The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has renewed an agreement with Nexfor Fraser Papers for management of winter habitat for white-tailed deer and other wildlife species. The agreement was signed on Wednesday by Governor John Baldacci, Commissioner Roland D. Martin and Nexfor Fraser President Bert Martin and Vice President Don Tardie.
"This agreement clearly illustrates how we all benefit when private industry and public agencies work together. I am pleased by the collaborative efforts made by everyone involved," said Governor Baldacci.
This Deer Wintering Area Management Agreement with Nexfor Fraser Paper covers 37,322 acres, or 16% of their 232,000 acres of forested land in Aroostook and Penobscot counties.
"Nexfor is a leader in preserving habitat for deer and other species in Maine," said Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Commissioner Roland D. Martin, "They continue to be a model in habitat management for all large landowners."
Nexfor Fraser is based in Toronto and owns 232,000 acres in Maine, and manages over 2,000,000 forested acres in New Brunswick. Nexfor Fraser recently purchased the holdings of Great Northern, which will add to their land holdings and mills in Maine, and is now beginning work on a deer wintering agreement for their new properties. IFW presently has Deer Wintering Agreements with eight major landowners in the state, covering nearly a ¼ million acres (236,618).
"Sustainable and environmentally sound forestry is an essential part of Nexfor Fraser Papers' business approach," noted Bert Martin, President of Nexfor Fraser Papers Inc. "We know how important the forests are to the citizens of Maine. We share the concerns of the public and state agencies when it comes to ensuring the future health of this priceless resource. Renewing this agreement on habitat management is yet another way we can demonstrate our commitment to responsible management of our forest land."
Wildlife biologists consider quality deer winter shelter the major limiting factor in sustaining deer populations in Maine. In addition, properly managed softwood stands provide habitat for a variety of upland wildlife species.
Healthy deer populations in Maine depend on wintering areas that provide shelter and open space at the same time. Evergreen canopies keep snow depth underneath to a minimum and allow deer easy mobility while they conserve energy. Open areas within the shelter portions provide winter forage on which deer depend to survive. Maintaining a strong deer population over time depends on protecting large stands of mature hemlocks, spruce and fir to shelter deer from cold, wind, and deep snow. The agreement allows the company to have a continuous supply of pulp and sawlogs, while maintaining the stands that provide shelter for wintering deer. This is ensured by providing that at least 50% of the wintering area complex is composed of mature, close-canopy softwood stands to provide shelter. The remainder of the yard can be in younger conifer age-classes to provide browse for feeding, and eventually future shelter.
"We are very pleased to continue our cooperative partnership with Nexfor Fraser," said Gene Dumont, Wildlife Management Section Supervisor with IFW, "We have enjoyed our working relationship with Steve Young, Nexfor Fraser's Wildlife Biologist. His forest simulation models and forest management planning places Nexfor Fraser Paper as the leader and role model for other major landowners."
In addition to timber harvesting guidelines, the agreement also addresses deer travel corridors, road construction, herbicide application, gravel excavation, and recreational camp leases within the agreement area.
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