Sustainable agriculture, forest management and year-round experiential learning opportunities
Teaching and demonstrating the benefits of innovative, sustainable management of forest and farmland

Forest Management

Starting in the 1940s, George Merck began acquiring the parcels which now make up Merck Forest and Farmland Center (MFFC). In doing so, he ushered in a new era of land management intended to demonstrate the benefits of "innovative, sustainable forest management."

Benefits of Forest Management include:
  1. Timber - Through careful management, we can grow trees that are tall and straight and highly valuable;

  2. Fuel Wood - Logging operations that remove diseased, or poorly-formed trees, can produce a great deal of wood which can be used as a local, renewable fuel source;

  3. Maple Syrup - A Vermont tradition and an organic alternative to commercially produced corn syrup sweeteners, sap is harvested at 2% sugar content and boiled to 67% sugar content to produce delicious maple syrup. Currently we lease approximately 180 acres for maple sugar production and we directly manage about 70 acres for our own syrup production. Both of these enterprises produce maple syrup certified organic by the Vermont Organic Farmers, LLC, Organic Certification Program;

  4. Income - Currently, the forest generates direct income through the production and subsequent sale of saw timber, cordwood, maple syrup and lease payments;

  5. Wildlife Habitat Management & Biodiversity - Forestry operations can enhance habitat and forage opportunities for game and non-game species and we actively try to incorporate these considerations into our management decisions;

  6. Clean Water & Carbon Sequestration - A well-managed forest acts as a living filter removing impurities from rainwater which recharges local aquifers. At the same time they regulate climate by storing an enormous amount of carbon in their stems, branches, leaf litter and soil;

  7. Recreation - While the land provides all the above benefits, visitors are able to explore and enjoy a forested landscape belonging to a beautiful ecosystem.


Forest Management
Photo courtesy of Aaron Lamp

Sap buckets

Controlled Burning

Snow Hike

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We are not affiliated with, nor do we receive annual support from Merck & Co. Inc.
We are not part of any government agency. All donations are tax-deductible to the extent
allowed by law and are greatly appreciated!

Banner photo courtesy of Dan Sullivan
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