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The Silver Maple Forest (Belmont Uplands) & The Impact of Development. Charles J. Katuska, MFS,PWS Consulting Ecologist “The aesthetic, wildlife, watershed protection, and wood production values of these (suburban) woods will increase in every future decade” - Lloyd Irland. What Is It ?.

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the silver maple forest belmont uplands the impact of development

The Silver Maple Forest (Belmont Uplands) & The Impact of Development

Charles J. Katuska, MFS,PWS

Consulting Ecologist

“The aesthetic, wildlife, watershed protection, and wood production values of these (suburban) woods will increase in every future decade” - Lloyd Irland

what is it
What Is It ?
  • The Belmont Silver Maple forest is a mixed association of various wetland and upland plant communities on about 15 acres.
  • Silver maple (Acer saccharinum) dominates the central core of the site.
  • Unusual, relict forest community in this context
the belmont silver maple forest
The Belmont Silver Maple Forest

ARLINGTON

Route 2

Little Pond

Acer saccharinum

BELMONT

CAMBRIDGE

Little River

silver maple acer saccharinum
Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum)

A native floodplain tree species with specific autecological values -

  • Provides an important wildlife food resource (newly broken buds) at a critical time of the late winter
  • High value food source for beaver, second only to alders
  • High value for cavity-nesting wildlife
  • Shallow fibrous root system well adapted to reducing erosion and stabilizing soils
locally unique forest context usgs gap analysis for biodiversity
Locally Unique Forest Context(USGS GAP Analysis for Biodiversity)

Menotomy Rocks Park

ARLINGTON

Spy Pond

BELMONT UPLANDS

LITTLE POND

Cambridgepark

City Infirmary

BELMONT

CAMBRIDGE

Fresh Pond

the belmont silver maple forest1
The Belmont Silver Maple Forest

Forested land always provides value to the urban environment

  • Maintains and improves air quality
  • Maintains and improves water quality
  • Reduces volumes of stormwater runoff
  • Provides important wildlife habitat
  • Recreation
  • Aesthetics
  • Educational Value
the belmont silver maple forest2
The Belmont Silver Maple Forest

Provides additional site-specific functions and values here -

  • Serves as an important “core habitat” adjacent to Little Pond and the Alewife Reservation
  • Size and Shape
  • Land Cover Type
  • Relative Seclusion in Context
  • Provides a significant reserve within a network of other habitat patches for the continued preservation of area-sensitive species
now the belmont silver maple forest is the site of a substantial development proposal
Now, the Belmont Silver maple Forest is the site of a substantial development proposal -
how would the development commercial or residential of the silver maple stand affect forest values
How would the Development (commercialor residential) of the Silver Maple Stand affect Forest values ?
  • Add pollutants and additional stormwater volume to an already stressed receiving water system
  • Directly eliminate core wildlife habitat and reduce the quality of remaining habitats
  • Reduce air quality in the immediate area and contribute to local/regional air quality problems
  • Eliminate the opportunity for recreation in the development area itself and reduce the quality of the recreation experience in undeveloped portions of he site
  • Eliminate the locally unique and regionally significant floodplain forest aesthetic experience
final considerations
Final Considerations
  • The environmental values of the Belmont Silver Maple Stand are not solely related to wildlife habitat or the protection of its surrounding wetlands.
  • The development of the Belmont Silver Maple Stand will substantially eliminate its forest values and will degrade the forest & forested wetland values of the remaining land and the adjacent public open space.
  • Potentially significant forest values do not flow to the community under current private ownership.
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