The Eastern Shore Forests consist of about 15,947 acres in 98 named tracts located in Charles, Caroline, Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester counties in Maryland. The tracts are widely scattered across the area, and some are quite small. Twenty-six of the tracts range in size from 17.8 to 78.6 acres, but comprise only 5.6% of the property. The HFF IV lands are part of a major effort by the State of Maryland to create and maintain a “Green Infrastructure” in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The forests are managed in a manner consistent with the Conservation Easement held by Maryland DNR which states its purpose as “to perpetuate a sustainable working forest… encourage the long-term professional management of those forest resources… facilitate the biologically and economically sustainable production of the forest resources… and conserve and preserve the significant conservation values of the property, including the natural, environmental, scenic, rural, woodland and wetland characteristics…, and the diversity of plant and animal species and their natural habitats.” The overall forest management strategy for the Eastern Shore Forests is to produce pine pulpwood and sawtimber through thinning and harvesting operations designed to maintain healthy, productive, profitable southern pine plantations.
|Property Name||Eastern Shore|
|County||Caroline, Charles, Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomico, Worcester|
|Previous Owner||Glatfelter Pulpwood Corporation|
|Dominant Forest Type||90% Loblolly Pine 10% Lowland Hardwood|
|Managing Consultant||Vision Forestry, LLC|
|Address||310 Tilghman Road, PO Box 2677 Salisbury, MD – 21802|
The 98 named tracts that have been grouped into 8 compartments for management planning. The compartments are county-wide with the exception of Somerset County, which was divided into three geographically-defined areas. Most of the HFF IV lands are located in the 3 southernmost Maryland Eastern Shore Counties – Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester. The Caroline County tracts were more closely arranged with the Glatfelter lands in Delaware under the prior ownership. The “outlier” lands are the Charles County tracts, which require about 2 ½ to 3 hours of driving from Salisbury.
The Eastern Shore Forests were formerly owned and managed by the Glatfelter Pulpwood Corporation, and were used to produce pulpwood for their chip mill facilities in Delmar, DE, and the paper plant in Spring Grove, PA. The company focused on purchasing forestland in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, usually purchasing a mixed forest from private landowners, harvesting it, and converting it to pine plantations. The forestlands purchased had a long history of private ownership, and often had been agricultural fields at some point in the past. As the purchased lands became more oriented to pine plantations, the production from those plantations provided around 75% of the Delmar chip mill’s wood. Sawlog merchandising, to the extent it was done, was done in the woods. The company decided to sell its land holdings in 2002, as part of a planned restructuring, resulting in the purchase by HFF IV.
The forests on the HFF IV property consist primarily of loblolly pine plantations less than 30 years of age. The age distribution of 17,975 acres listed in the Glatfelter data as producing pine plantation forests. There are some 2000 acres of hardwoods and about 800 acres that need to be re-established, but which were harvested before 2003. The remaining acres are listed as roads, powerlines, marsh, and other non-forest cover. Based on initial GIS analysis, there are roughly 200 acres of such roads.