Problem: All five Forest Management Plans have allowed logging to increase.
Logging will increase on areas the Forest Service describes as suitable timber land. In addition, logging is allowed in areas deemed unsuitable under thinly veiled excuses such as “Forest Health” and “Wildlife Management”. *Note – Alabama’s Logging number represent restoration efforts.
Solution: Tell the Forest Service that logging numbers are way too high in suitable areas, and that “Forest Health” & “Wildlife Management” logging in unsuitable areas is too open to interpretation. The Allowable Sale Quantities for each forest should be lowered to those that are consistent or below the actual number of board feet that is being harvested today. In addition, logging in unsuitable areas should have precise provisions so that they aren’t used as a loophole by timber industries.
• The draft plans would allow logging on suitable lands to increase to the kind of logging we saw in the 1980’s. Publicity released with the plans maintained that the plans decreased logging from the previous plans. However, the FS was never able to log the amount of timber allowed in the previous plans because of environmental constraints. This level of logging is still inappropriate.
• Wildlife Management logging is superfluous. The models the Forest Service uses to determine how much logging needs to take place for “early successional habitat” does not factor in natural occurring early succession. One to two percent of stable forests are disturbed naturally each year. Adding unnatural disturbances of 4-5% to our forests (10-20% in some areas) opens up way too much forest and creates unnatural conditions.
• Intact Forests offer more to local economies that logging. Hunting brought in $296 million in retail sales to the region in 1996. The Ocoee River alone brought in more than $3 million a year in commercial and private user fees. In contrast, timber based annual employment continues to decrease due things like automation.