June 21, 2022

Forest Management – It’s a Hot Topic in Tennessee

Contact: Mark Lance, Southeastern States Coordinator

Why It Matters:  Members of local communities in Tennessee have expressed concerns about harvesting hardwood species and the supposed consequential negative impact on wildlife populations and hunting opportunities. However, the TWRA’s utilization of science-based active forest management practices, including timber harvesting and prescribed fire, to improve wildlife habitat is critical to supporting robust and diverse wildlife populations.

While the proposed habitat management project is stalled on Bridgestone/Firestone WMA due to misguided public opposition, proposed habitat work on Catoosa WMA has been well received by sportsmen and women who showed up to speak in favor of the proposed habitat work at a public meeting.

The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF), in coordination with pro-sportsmen organizations, signed on to an action alert, led by the Tennessee Wildlife Federation, opposing the transfer of ownership and management authority of the Yanahli WMA away from the TWRA. Thanks to strong opposition from the sportsmen and women’s community, the effort was defeated, ensuring 12,800 acres remained open to public access.

Bills limiting timber harvest on WMAs and directing proceeds of timber harvests on state-owned land to the state General Fund rather than staying with the TWRA directly threatens the TWRA’s ability to conduct science-based wildlife management and funding for conservation. CSF will continue to coordinate with our partners to oppose similar efforts.

To learn more about misguided public opposition to sustainable forest management on public lands, particularly in the Southeast, please consider registering for CSF’s latest installment of our 2022 Summer Webinar Series: Emergent Threats to Hunting and Wildlife from Misinformed Opposition to Sustainable Forest Management on Public Lands.

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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