RIFCO’s summer twilight session to view oak forest collapse at Hillsdale Preserve in Richmond, RI

The RI Forest Conservator’s Organization is conducting its annual Summer Twilight Woods Walk at the Hillsdale Preserve, formerly known as the DeCoppett Estate, on Hillsdale Road in Richmond, RI, on Thursday, August 2, 2018, from 6 to 8 pm. 

The evening will include a woods walk to observe the devastating effects of the 3-d’s of drought, defoliations, & deer browse on an upland oak forest.  The walk will be led by RI DEM foresters Will Walker and Fern Graves, and retired URI professor Dr. James Brown.

The Hillsdale Preserve is located along Hillsdale Road, about one mile north of Route 138, east of the Richmond town hall.  Signs will be posted.
Recent defoliation events by both the Gypsy moth and the Forest tent caterpillars, following a couple of years of spring droughts, have severely impacted the oak canopy, with high mortality occurring. 

The high deer populations have, over time, completely depleted any tree regeneration in the understory, so the failure of the oak canopy results in a collapse of the oak forest ecosystem.  Dr. Jim Brown has worked on this property for many years, implementing forestry and wildlife projects to enhance biodiversity and improve forest health conditions.  He will help us with some historic perspectives on previous Gypsy moth defoliation events and the recovery of our oak forests, or lack thereof.

The hazards presented by all of those dead trees include falling limbs and trees over the next ten to twenty years, threatening power lines, property, and people, and in the short term there will be increased fire danger with laddered fuels and thick brushy vegetation. What can property owners, utility companies, and municipalities do to help mitigate these problems??

The program is free of charge, and there is no need to register.  Refreshments will be provided, and directions to the site are available at www.rifco.org, or by calling RIFCO at (401) 568-3421.

The RI Forest Conservator’s Organization is a statewide, non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and wise use of Rhode Island’s forest resources.   RIFCO is also a co-sponsor of the RI Tree Farm Program, and an affiliate of the National Woodland Owner’s Association.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Marc Tremblay: 401.568.3421 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


The mission of the SRICD is to promote and achieve a healthy environment and sustainable use of natural resources for the people of Kent and Washington Counties and the State of Rhode Island, now and for the future, by coordinating partners to provide technical, educational and financial resources.


Gina T. Fuller
District Manager, Southern Rhode Island Conservation District
Email sricd.info@gmail.com

PO Box 1636, Kingston, RI 02881
office (401) 500 0422

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