Postscript to “Anatomy of a Timber Sale Appeal”

missionaccomplished

Faithful readers may recall an earlier post describing FSEEE’s first timber sale appeal in years.

We prevailed. The Forest Service reviewing officer recommended the sale be reversed because of “a lack of information regarding reforestation techniques and methods.” The appeal deciding officer, aka the Bighorn forest supervisor, agreed and reversed his district ranger’s decision “in whole.”

I welcome the reader’s suggestions on “where to from here?” What constructive next steps might FSEEE take, preferably in collaboration with Bighorn staff, to ensure this doesn’t happen again?

2 Comments

  1. OH….I guess I’ll have some fun with this. Considering that in FY 2013 the semi arid little ol’ Bighorn NF sols 8 times more timber than the fabulously wet and much much larger Lolo NF in Montana…I spose it’s time for an appeal (13MMBF VS 1.8MMBF). Of course, that says less for the Lolo than more for the Bighorn. It’s a sad commentary on the state of affairs in Montana when all the timber from the bighorns is being bought and trucked 250 miles to mills in Montana. I might add that it’s the first appeal in a decade. And yes, “natural regeneration” is problematic for Spruce/Fir on the Bighorn…even though I’ve seen beautiful regen in the shelterwood units there, even though those darned Canadians seem to have success with natural regen in their group selection spruce/fir alpine units. I’d tend to put the blame on poor “surface scarification.”

    Never-the-less…here’s a little perspective on logging “old growth” spruce on the bighorn. I’m going to limit this to the go-go get-out-the-cut decades of 1960 to 1990 (30 years) so as to not be dishonest and “skew” my statistics. In those 30 years, 5% of the “spruce-fir” cover type were logged…or 1.5%/decade. 1% was clearcut….2%(that’s “point”2%) was group selection and the rest shelterwood. This project would “group selection” another .04% or 125 acres (please correct me if I’m wrong, but when the USFS project says 25% of a 600 acre stand will receive GS doesn’t that mean that only 125 acres will actually be patch cut?…no intermediary thinning specified on this project). The sale also includes another 540 in shelterwood harvests.

    I’d love to see the “timber cruise” on this sale. Are the trees harvested by this timber sale even Old Growth? The 58 page EA never mentioned it. I’ve been in that country and If I recall it appeared old growth, but a BHNF inventory, admittedly on only half the S-F on the forest, found that only 13% was in OG…with a huge bulge in stand age around 150 years ago after the great fires of the late 1800’s.

    Finally, I’ll throw in a little “snarkiness” LOL. 1,000,000 acres of old growth spruce-fir killed by beetles in Colorado….good. 700 acres harvested by man….bad.
    Thanks for the diversion Andy…it’s nice to get my mind off work once in awhile.

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