Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station [Rutgers Environmental Stewards]

10 Acre Restoration - Madison Shade Tree Board

Host Agency Info: Shade Tree Management Board of the Borough of Madison, NJ
Address: Hartley Dodge Memorial, 50 Kings Road, Madison, NJ 07940
Phone: 973 301 9139
Supervisor Name: Gene Cracovia – Chair Shade Tree Management Board of Madison
E-mail of supervisor:
Nature of Host Agency: Government – Board staffed by volunteers but empowered to manage borough trees.

Project Description:
Recently Madison purchased 49 acres of what used to be the Exxon Research Center located in both Florham Park and Madison. The land is to be developed for both active and passive recreational use. One portion, of about 10 acres has been described by Sara Webb, Professor of Biology and Director of Environmental Studies at Drew University as a mature forest zone. In a report, issued in September 2008 she states that this land is an “important ecologically for its rich diversity of old native trees, many measuring 3’ in diameter, and is well suited for passive recreation.  The forest and open woodlands are severely degraded by invasive plants which, together with deer, have depleted the lower layers of the forest and eliminated natural tree reproduction.”

The project, for these 10 acres, would be to develop and lead the implementation of a plan to control deer, eliminate the invasive plants and help re-develop what would be the natural lower layers of the forest.

The anticipated outcome would be to restore the 10 acres in order to allow for the natural development of a forest such that the residents of the surrounding towns can learn what a natural forest is and what the benefits are for plant life, animals and humans.


Nature of anticipated impact: Social, Economic, Environmental– all since the residents of the surrounding towns would all be able to enjoy a natural forest close to their homes thus increasing their home values and help stop the damage to our limited open land from deer and invasive plants.

Evaluation Plan:
            The Project would be evaluated by:

  • Field trips to the site to develop the plan
  • The documentation of plan, review and sign-off by the Shade Tree Management Board of Madison
  • Field trips and reports after the following events:
    • Deer Control strategies have been implemented
    • Identification and marking of invasives to be removed
    • After removal of 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% of the invasives
    • After 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% planting of native plants

Learning Objectives in plan (If any):

    • How to control deer in open public lands
    • How to eliminate invasive plants
    • How to renew a forest with native plants
    • How to communicate and involve the Madison residents in developing and implementing a ‘re-forestation’ plan.