Greenwire: “Feds plan major logging boost in W.Va.”

Lest we forget that not all National Forests are in the western US….

The Forest Service will more than double the timber cut on the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia in the next two years, reflecting the agency’s push to pull more wood from forests it considers underused.

“The Monongahela is really stepping up,” interim Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen told the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee last week.

At 919,000 acres, the Monongahela — sometimes referred to as “the Mon” — is twice as big as the Allegheny National Forest in neighboring Pennsylvania yet produces a small fraction of the timber.

In fiscal 2017, the Forest Service reported that $958,000 worth of timber was cut on the Monongahela, compared with $5.8 million worth on the Allegheny.

14 thoughts on “Greenwire: “Feds plan major logging boost in W.Va.””

  1. To put this news report on the Monongahela N.F. into perspective

    Net Annual Growth 2011-2016, 20.7 MMBF
    Annual Mortality 2011-2016, 21.2 MMBF
    Gross Annual Growth,2011-2016, 41.-9 MMBF
    Avg. Annual Cut 2011-2016, 1.2 MMBF

    The Mononghela N.F is cutting 2.9 % of its annual growth while 51% of its growth dies. After doubling the past harvest the cut will be about 6 % of the growth.

    Data Sources:
    Growth- Mortality: Web citation: Tuesday May 1st 7:00 p.m. Forest Inventory Data Online web-application version: FIDO St. Paul, MN: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station. [Available only on internet:
    Cut: USDA Forest Service, Annual cut-Sold Reports.

  2. I wonder if some of the $ is due to cherry having so much more value, not sure what species are cut on the Monongahela. Maybe a strict MBF/acre comparison would be more meaningful, except that’s probably not meaningful either, as they are very different.

  3. Much of the MNF is the same black cherry-maple-northern red oak mix as the Allegheny, and the values for veneer logs are high. There are also 1000s of acres of yellow poplar and white pine stands with almost PNW-like volumes. Culturally though, this isn’t going to happen as the MNF is largely staffed with anti’s and obstructionists. Biggest push back will come from the soils and aquatics staff. You can take the bridle off the nag, but she still ain’t going run any faster. Throughout the 90s and 00s, the 200-400,000 ft cut on the NRS’s Fernow Experimental Forest for silviculture and water studies often constituted the majority of harvests that the million acre MNF counted (even though they had nothing to do with it). The current ploy now is to “offer” sales but then require helicopter logging which of course means bids never come in.

    This sums up the MNF management style “hey, WV DNR, we have too many deer and they are a threat to biodiversity and regeneration”. Then the MNF gates and locks all the roads the week before deer season.

    While it is the middle of nowhere that approaches western-esque landscapes, a significant upping of the cut could be a significant shot in the arm for little towns like Parsons, Marlinton, and Webster Springs that have sawmills. But I will believe it when I see it.

    • So glad you are retired smokey. Wouldn’t want you managing any of my public lands anyway.

      Also, I have a feeling that who you call “anti’s and obstructionists” are actually caring people who are pro-old-growth and pro-science and the only thing these folks are “obstructing” is people like you would’ve love nothing more than to start cutting down some big old yellow poplar and white pine forests.

      Anyway, enjoy your taxpayer-funded retirement.

      • Matthew, I like to hear from retired people. They have much on the ground experience and other kinds of experience that I can benefit from learning. We don’t always agree as you can tell from me and Jon and Dave Iverson and so on, and that’s OK.

        Isn’t everyone’s social security taxpayer funded? As are general goods like Forest Service recreation, county open spaces, public libraries, schools and so on? I’m not clear on why you brought that up.

        • Hi Sharon,

          I like to hear from retired people too. I hope to live long enough to be a retired person myself.

          The issue is not at all that “retired smoky bear” is retired. The issue to me was that they called people “anti’s and obstructionists.” So I wondered what they were “anti” and “obstructing.” Anyway, you’ve long told people (retired, working or otherwise) not to call people names on this blog.

          P.S. Social Security is primarily funded by payroll taxes assessed on an individual worker’s wages. The employer pays 6.2% of the income and the employee chips in another 6.2%. So, no, Social Security is not primarily funded by ‘taxpayers’ per se. However, if “retired smoky bear” has a pension from working with a federal land management agency, a significant part of that pension is funded by all taxpayers.

          • Maybe you’re thinking about the difference between CSRS retirement system (phased out in 1987) and the current TSP program which is social security and an IRA like savings program. CSRS people were given the option to switch over at some point (maybe 1987?).

            I don’t think you can tell from the fact that someone’s retired which plan they are on, although knowing the start date of someone’s service means that you can tell if they could be on CSRS. And as to CSRS, that also applies to the whole USG enchilada, EPA, USDA, NASA, NOAA, State Department, NIH, FDA, HHS and so on, and I think Congress as well. But State employees get pensions funded by taxpayers as well.. not sure where you’re going with this.. Where I live, we see many retired feds and military supporting and serving the community (and their families).

  4. Uh spent some time in WV. Afraid the Old Guy is right. It is a paradoxical forest. Even against mgmt for restoration/ecological integrity and endangered species. They seem to frustrate the state, TNC, Sierra Club and forest industry will great equality.

  5. Question. Why are we so easily diverted from the issue at hand? What does it matter who’s paying for our retirement? The question is the management of the Monongahela. and how well it is serving the many needs of the public. It seems apparent that a forest that that cuts 2.8% of its annual growth while 51% dies is serving neither the public’s basic needs for jobs and economic security nor the silvicutural need for prudent husbandry.

  6. “the agency’s push to pull more wood from forests it considers underused”

    I’m still waiting to see the Trump Administration marching orders to “up the cut.” (This would make a good FOIA request.)

    The Monongahela (I thought it was the “Monon,” like the railroad) is obviously being managed for multiple uses rather than jobs and “prudent husbandry.” Its 2007 forest plan has an ASQ of 6.3 MMBF and a total from both suitable and unsuitable lands of 7.8 MMBF. The relationship of this to annual growth should have been discussed when the plan was adopted. (Maybe “underused” means not cutting the ASQ, misusing ASQ again like the old days as a target instead of sustainability ceiling.)

  7. Jon, Would it be possible, feasible, desirable, to increase the annual harvest from 2.8% of the annual growth while maintaining and, gasp, enhancing other ecosystem services? “Prudent husbandry” serves many needs , including the basic human needs for family security and community stability. The forest is now contributing only minimally to meeting these needs. A quick check of the U.S. Census Bureau data for 2015 shows that every one of the West Virginia counties ((Tucker, Pocahontas, Greenbriar, Randolph) with the largest acreage of N.F. land have poverty levels above the national average of 13.5%. Many factors contribute to this condition, but in all cases the national forest virtual non-management is part of the problem. It could be part of the solution. Our public lands were were created to serve public needs. Should they not do so?

  8. They are serving public needs. The question, as always, is which public and which needs. That’s what forest planning is supposed to resolve, and it did.


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