6 thoughts on “FS Releases Draft Planning Rule Directives”

  1. I was just exulting in the idea that for the first time in some years that I wouldn’t have to read them; however I expect that my volunteer duties might require it, because there’s a public comment period. Drat!

    My title would be “*Opportunity For Mind-Numbing Tedium: Review and Comment on FS Planning Directives”

    Today’s announcement will be followed by the publication of a notice in the Federal Register of the availability of the proposed directives for public review and comment. The Federal Register notice will begin the official 60 day comment period.

  2. Mind-numbing, yes, but the devil is always in the details.

    Section 61.12 – Lands on which Timber Production is Not Compatible with the Achievement of Desired Conditions and Objectives states that:

    “If timber production would not be compatible with one or more desired conditions or other plan components, then those lands are not suitable for timber production.”

    I suggest a more flexible approach:

    “If timber production would not be compatible with one or more desired conditions or other plan components, then those lands MAY BE CLASSIFIED AS not suitable for timber production AFTER THE DUE CONSIDERATION OF THE COMPATIBILITY OF TIMBER HARVESTING WITH ALL DESIRED CONDITIONS OR PLAN COMPONENTS.”

    For example, one might want to harvest timber in a given location even if doing so does not contribute to the desired condition for spotted owl population, but does address fire condition class, stand density, WUI protection zones, and other conditions.

  3. Oh, gosh, Steve… you are approaching “what does “suitable” really mean?” My last understanding was that you could harvest on “unsuitable” if the vegetation management project was done for other reasons and you could take the logs away.. but I remember it was all very confusing, even when I kept up with it.

    And the idea of “suitable for timber production” really never had much meaning, since projects on suitable acres were still appealed and litigated. Many people don’t believe timber production is a legitimate purpose and need, regardless of what forest plans decide.

    Anyway, my knowledge, or confusion, is from several years ago. Hopefully someone out there is keeping up and can clarify!

    PS Here are some classic NCFP articles on the topic:

    And Andy’s ideas:

    Note, Andy’s rule probably wouldn’t have needed directives…

  4. You’re right, Sharon. The 2012 rule states that:

    “Except as provided in paragraph (d) of this
    section, the plan may include plan
    components to allow for timber harvest
    for purposes other than timber
    production throughout the plan area, or
    portions of the plan area, as a tool to
    assist in achieving or maintaining one or
    more applicable desired conditions or
    objectives of the plan in order to protect
    other multiple-use values, and for
    salvage, sanitation, or public health or
    safety. Examples of using timber harvest
    to protect other multiple use values may
    include improving wildlife or fish
    habitat, thinning to reduce fire risk, or
    restoring meadow or savanna
    ecosystems where trees have invaded.”

    But timber harvest is timber production.


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