Who is your forester?
A consulting forester is not just a one-time service provider. A forester provides long-term guidance and institutional memory for landowners, often stewarding the same land through multiple generations or changes in ownership. This continuous legacy of management provides significant advantages, as a forester is keenly in tune with how a particular parcel of land has responded to previous treatments. With this knowledge, the forester will have a better intuitive “feel” for how the forest will continue to evolve.
Donn Downey - Managing Forester
Donn started working in forestry in 2010, following early careers in ski resort planning and residential design/build construction. He graduated from Colby College with a degree in Economics and Environmental Studies, and earned a master’s of science in Environmental Science and Conservation Biology from Antioch University.
After working as a forest technician with Ehrhard Frost, then Jeff Smith as early mentors, Donn co-founded and developed Forest Metrix in 2013, software used by Upper Valley Forest Management and hundreds of other consulting foresters, researchers, and state agencies. This system allows for detailed and comprehensive ecological data collection and analysis, tailored specifically to the characteristics of every property and client objectives. In 2017 Donn returned to the woods and has since worked closely with Jeff in all capacities of forested land planning and management.
Donn and his wife own a 50-acre property in Thetford and Strafford, Vermont that serves many purposes, including a recreational trail network, 250 tap sugarbush, and a wide variety of demonstration and experimental treatment plots for wildlife habitat enhancement, invasive vegetation control, and beech control. Donn frequently gives tours of this property to clients and the public to facilitate discussions about silvicultural strategies.
Jeff Smith - Senior Forester
Jeff has been practicing forestry since 1983, when he graduated from UNH and was the managing forester for the university’s woodlands while pursuing his master’s degree. He has practiced forestry for nearly four decades, and now manages tens of thousands of acres for clients in Vermont and New Hampshire. In addition to working for private landowners, Jeff also serves conservation organizations and a number of municipalities and large institutions, such as Dartmouth-Hitchcock Memorial Hospital. A close associate of forester John O’Brien of Orford, NH, Jeff took over many of John’s managed properties in 2012.
Jeff is a founding member of the Forest Steward’s Guild, a group of field foresters that first met in 1996 and espoused an ethos of ecological forestry that wasn’t being addressed by traditional forestry associations. He is also credited with naming the organization, which has since become the leading voice in the ecological forestry movement. His vision has always been how to manage forests in a sustainable way that meets the landowner’s needs while honoring the roles and functions of all ecological processes and systems in a forest.
Jeff is also a forest landowner with approximately 45 acres surrounding his residence in Thetford and 390 acres in nearby Vershire, Vermont which he owns in a partnership with his wife Jane and family. Both properties are managed for multiple uses and they are enrolled in Vermont’s Current Use program, so Jeff is very aware of the challenges facing forest landowners.