The Department of Conservation and Recreation will hold a public meeting on Saturday, Sept. 18, in the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest to discuss ways to reduce wildfire risks and other public safety hazards while also restoring plantings of native trees.
The work scheduled to begin this fall is part of a three-year, 237-acre “emergency ecological restoration project” at the forest. The project involves removing the large number of red pines that have died there recently and creating new stands of native pitch pine and scrub oak.
Red pines are not native to Martha’s Vineyard but many were brought to the Island beginning in the 1930s and were planted at a number of locations within the forest. In 2004 a disease known as Diplodia pinea infested the forest and killed more than 300 acres of red pine. Since the widespread mortality occurred, state and local officials have become concerned about the risk to public safety posed by dead trees falling down, as well as the increased wildfire risk created by the large number of dry, dead trees.
Work this fall and winter will cover about 90 acres; last year, about 110 acres were addressed.
The public meeting begins at 1 p.m. in the maintenance barn at the state forest headquarters on 49 Sanderson avenue, off Barnes Road in Edgartown. There will be a guided walk of the site from 2 to 3 p.m.