To broaden our focus to areas and issues outside of the Western US….
The usual cast of characters and the usual issues: “…a commercial timber harvest, in the Blue Ridge Ranger District of the Gainesville-based Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest have come under fire from some environmental groups.” Including Georgia ForestWatch, Southern Environmental Law Center, and the Georgia Chapter of the Sierra Club.
A variety of treatments would cover about 2,300 acres, or about 10 percent of the Blue Ridge District’s total 300,000 acres. Removing the majority of trees from a particular stand to regenerate an area would take place on 253 acres.
Here’s what the scoping letter says about the 253 acres:
Early Successional Forest Habitat (Goal 2):
Stands proposed for regeneration range from true cove stands consisting primarily of yellow poplar to more xeric stands dominated by oak species. The primary purpose of regenerating these stands is to improve habitat conditions for species such as ruffed grouse, golden-winged warbler and other early successional species. Secondary objectives include restoration of oak on sites where white pine is dominating but not ecologically appropriate and oak maintenance in existing oak stands.
White pine stands will likely require complete overstory removal, after harvest site preparation treatments, planting of native oak species, and subsequent release treatments. Site preparation treatments may include chemical and/or non-chemical methods such as prescribed burning. Stands will be harvested with a two-aged with reserves method, retaining an approximately 20ft2 BA of overstory trees per acre. Stands may require post-harvest chemical release treatments to reduce competition from undesirable species.
This seems quite reasonable, though I have not visited the area. If this didn’t involve commercial harvesting, would it still draw fire?