PORTFOLIO: Bundoran Farm

Bundoran Farm - Albemarle County, Va (2005 - present)

Bundoran Farm lies twelve miles south of Charlottesville and consists of 2,293 acres of verdant pasture and woodland in an area renowned for its beautiful farmland. After a long period of ownership by the Scott Family, the property was sold in 2005 to Edge Valley Preservation, LLC, who acquired it for the purpose of creating a sustainable, rural development. The model for “preservation development” limits residential development in order to preserve the character and traditional uses of the rural landscape for perpetuity. Prior to locating 100 homesites on the property, it was inventoried to delineate the principal farm and forest belts – areas where maintaining highly productive farm and forest land took precedent over development. Once these areas were established, 100 homesites were carefully sited and concealed within the woodland edges where they have a minimal impact on the rural viewshed.

Though many sites are off-limits to forest management (critical slopes, critical viewsheds, old growth hardwood stands), a primary objective is to manage this property as a “working forest”. While this may lead to conflict with residential owners who desire peace and quiet, it is important to demonstrate that sustainable timber harvesting can co-exist with development. Since the Bundoran Farm woodlands consist of several major forest types that vary according to age, condition, health, productivity, and species composition, forest management (within a specific stand or site) has been carefully tailored to meet both the overall vision for the property and future plans for a particular site. Clearly, the approach to managing timber in and immediately surrounding a homesite is very different from that of a remote stand that is located far from any homesite. Here, the main purpose of thinning will be to improve the growth and quality of the stand without sacrificing aesthetic values. Though most thinning operations will concentrate on removing the “worst trees first” – the low grade and defective trees, suppressed and diseased trees, and a few high quality trees whose removal will benefit a neighboring tree of superior quality – the amount of removal within 150-200 feet of a building site will be less than in the surrounding woodlands. Within this protective buffer, many of the largest, healthiest, and most vigorous trees are left so the woods remain well-stocked and largely undisturbed. Beyond the building buffers, the thinning operations will pursue a more traditional approach of single tree selection and “gap” thinning.

Bundoran Farm recently opened the Baldwin Center for Preservation Development, a center dedicated to connecting citizens with working farms and landscapes and to advancing sustainable and state-of-the-art practices in: 1) rural land use planning and development; 2) preservation of productive lands and scenic landscapes; and 3) best land-use management practices for agriculture and forestry. In the meantime, VFWG has been conducting a kudzu eradication campaign, which has been quite successful in ridding the woodlands of kudzu and allowing native plants to re-emerge.

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"Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished."

~Lao Tzu