Active Forest Management Takes the Stage in the Green Mountain State

Contact: Joe Mullin, Northeastern States Manager

  • On April 8, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) submitted a letter to the Green Mountain National Forest regarding the Early Successional Habitat Creation Project on the Manchester Ranger District.
  • CSF opposed the draft timber harvest reductions, which would have curbed total harvested acreage for potential treatment from 17,435 acres to 14,270 acres.
  • Young forests and early successional habitats, which are in short supply on the Green Mountain National Forest, are essential for supporting a diversity of both game and nongame species.
  • With the conclusion of the public comment period, the Green Mountain National Forest will review all submissions before issuing a Decision Notice with their proposed path forward.

Why it Matters: CSF has worked alongside fish, wildlife, and forestry managers at both the state and federal levels in its continued effort to advocate for active forest management practices across the nation. Compared to passive management, active management is more effective for improving wildlife habitat, increasing forest resiliency to reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfire, controlling disease, pests, and invasive species, in addition to improving access and opportunity for sportsmen and women.

On March 8, CSF submitted comments to the Green Mountain National Forest regarding the draft Reduced Roads and draft Unit Pool Acres Adjustment Supplemental Information Reports for the Early Successional Habitat Creation Project (Project) on the Manchester Ranger District. The Project called for an over 18% decrease in total harvested acres for potential treatment – decreasing the harvest figures from 17,435 acres to 14,270 acres. CSF has long advocated for and supported active forest management practices and opposed the proposed reduction in timber harvests outlined in the Supplemental Information Reports to support wildlife that benefits from disturbance.

Young forests are underrepresented on public lands across the nation, particularly U.S. Forest Service lands, as timber harvesting levels have declined over the last few decades. While passive management has value, active forest management is much more effective for improving wildlife habitat, increasing forest resiliency, and reducing catastrophic wildfires.

CSF also opposed several other provisions within the Project, including the intent to exclude harvest acres beyond one-half mile from existing permanent roads, the elimination of permanent road system construction for harvest area access, and the proposed reduction of temporary road construction to 8.6 miles to access harvest areas. As CSF highlighted within its letter, the exclusion of timber harvests beyond one-half mile is a myopic management decision. It places an arbitrary and predetermined distance to something that should be based on specific forest health and wildlife habitat needs. Roads also provide important habitat diversity as linear wildlife openings, increase access for sportsmen and women, and are essential for maintaining management capabilities.

CSF will continue to engage in opportunities relative to active forest management in the northeast and across the nation. Additional updates will be provided as they are made available

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