Niebling Family Forest – New Hampshire

Since 2001, with the purchase of 68 acres in Boscawen, New Hampshire, just north of  Concord, Charlie and Mabel Niebling, along with their four children have stewarded their forestland with an outstanding passion and land ethic. The Niebling Family Forest has been their spiritual respite and physical therapy, devoting over 350 hours per year to its care and stewardship.

When the Nieblings moved in, their property had last seen harvesting in the late 1940s and was densely stocked with both low-grade wood and excellent growing stock in desperate need of active management. Since then, their management plan has taken a holistic approach to protecting and enhancing the values of the forest.

About one-third of the 68-acre property is off limits to timber harvesting to allow natural processes to develop without human disturbance. Another one-third is dedicated to careful thinning, using single tree and group selection to develop age class diversity and concentrate the site productivity on the best quality trees. The remaining one-third is in the process of being regenerated to patch cuts of ¼ to 1 acre in size, which are irregularly shaped to mimic natural disturbance patterns and located to optimize habitat diversity throughout the property.

Implementing this “triad” approach to management is a manifestation of the family’s ethic toward all forestland, which is that some forests should be left alone for their intrinsic ecological value, while others should be intensively managed to produce high quality wood products upon which society depends. The entire property is free of invasive plants through assiduous annual inspection and manual removal, and all management activities on the Niebling Family Forest are designed with attention to impacts on habitat values.

The Niebling Family applies recommended habitat practices from Good Forestry in the Granite State, the definitive guide to sustainable forestry that Charlie helped to write in 1997 and has since been updated in 2010. The family also has a strict policy of no harvesting activities from March to July during songbird breeding season.

As a leader in the forest products industry and supporter of landowners across New England, Charlie has had rich and varied career which has helped shape his understanding of trees and forests as both extraordinary natural systems that deserve our greatest commitment to conservation, and to their wise management for all the products and services we look to our forests to provide. With a devoted land ethic and Charlie’s rich career in forestry dating back to 1987, the Nieblings have long been champions of sustainable forestry, forest policy, land conservation, and sustainably sourced wood as a renewable energy source, and their property is a shining example of this.

Since becoming a Certified Tree Farm, Charlie and Mabel have opened their home and invited others to share their love for their land and craft, hosting numerous personal and professional gatherings- one favorite being the annual Niebling Family reunions with over 50 loved ones in attendance