Doncaster Demonstration Forest

Photo of Doncaster Demonstration ForestHistory

Forest management did not occur on the Doncaster property until 1973. Prior to that the only harvesting of trees was on less than twenty- one acres for pulpwood products. In 1973 a thirty- five acre regeneration harvest for pulpwood products was initiated in a stand of mature Virginia pine. Approximately twenty-five acres of this first managed sale was replanted with Loblolly pine, using a mechanized woodland machine planter. This twenty-five acre plantation was thinned in 2000 for pulpwood products.

In the summer of 1974 a forest inventory was completed on the property and a Forest Management Plan was prepared. From 1973 to 1984 286 acres of mature Virginia pine were harvested and reforested with Loblolly pine provided by the State Tree Nursery. In 1984 a second inventory of the forest was completed to monitor growth, establish new forest stands, determine stand volumes and monitor the overall health and forest stand dynamics. In 1992 a new Forest Management Plan was prepared following a third inventory of the forest. The most recent forest inventory was completed in the winter of 2006/2007 for this plan.

Forest Management

Approximately 48% of the forest at Doncaster is comprised of hardwood species; specifically oak, yellow polar, beech and maple. Pine stands occupy 38% of the forest at Doncaster, dominated primarily with plantations of loblolly pine and scattered pockets of native Virginia pine. Mixed oak/pine stands dominated with white oak and Virginia pine complete the forest composition occupying 15% of the species composition.

In 1984 a Demonstration Forest was created in each of Maryland’s four forested geographic regions. These forests were established to educate the citizens of Maryland by demonstrating sound forest management practices to help assist landowners in the decision making process in managing their own woodland.

Doncaster Demonstration Forest shall be managed using Sustainable Forestry techniques that respect the full range of environmental, social, and economic values of the forest, and seek to meet today's needs without losing any of those values. Sustainable forests maintain all components (trees, shrubs, flowers, birds, fish, wildlife, etc.) as well as ecological processes (nutrient recycling, water and air purification, ground water recharge, etc.) so they can remain healthy and vibrant into the future.

A basic part of sustainable forestry is adaptive management, which means that forest managers watch and monitor the forest carefully so that, if future conditions change and the forest shows signs of stress or decline, new management actions can help restore sustainable conditions. The management of this property is reviewed through a regional interdisciplinary team consisting of biologists, ecologists, foresters and land use planners.

A variety of silvicultural treatments has occurred on Doncaster following the second forest inventory in 1984. A detailed summary of each harvest is attached at the end of this plan.

Prescribed Fire

Prescribed fire will be used to manage stands of pine on Doncaster Demonstration Forest. Site preparation burns will be initiated as needed to prepare regenerating harvest areas for tree planting. Understory burns will be initiated in Loblolly pine stands to control hardwood.

Recreation

Recreational opportunities on the property include hunting, hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking. There are approximately thirteen miles of trails and woods roads at Doncaster Demonstration Forest.

Natural Area

A 242-acre Natural Area has been delineated on Doncaster Demonstration Forest. The conservation of biological diversity and watershed protection are issues of importance in this area. Commercial timber harvesting will not occur in this area. This area has been managed in the past and contains areas with large diameter yellow poplar trees.

This Natural Area will be protected from fire, invasive species, insects and disease. Access roads and trails will be maintained and equestrian use will be limited to designated trails.

Leave No Trace

Doncaster Demonstration Forest is Trash Free. Read more about Leave No Trace.

Location

In Charles County - North side of Port Tobacco Road due east of Gilroy Road, and the west side of Gilroy Road south of Gilroy Road and Port Tobacco road intersection.