Flathead NF Harvest Stats

Interesting numbers from an article in a Montana newspaper (thanks to Nick Smith for the link). An excerpt:

Timber sales on the Flathead National Forest were higher than usual in the past couple of years according to a recently released 2021 biennial monitoring report for the Forest.

In 2019, the Forest sold about 50.6 million board feet of timber and in 2020 it sold 48.5 million board feet of timber.

In 2019, 24.9 million came from salvage sales and in 2020, 28.5 million was from salvage sales. Salvage sales typically come after wildfire or big wind events that blow down a lot of timber.

Salvage of dead and dying timber accounted for approximately 49 percent of the volume sold in 2019 and approximately 59 percent of the volume sold in 2020. Salvage volume increased in 2020 through the offing of sales with heavy component of over-mature lodgepole pine. Also, a wind event in March of 2020 created blowdown captured as additional volume in active timber sales,” the report noted. [Emphasis added]

All told, about 14,241 acres were treated in some form over the two years in the wildland urban interface, a zone of forest that’s near human homes. The treatments ranged from logging and thinning to prescribed burns. Outside of the WUI, about 7,600 acres were treated.

1 thought on “Flathead NF Harvest Stats”

  1. It might be interesting to compare this to what the forest plan says:

    “Objectives (FW-OBJ-TIMB)
    01 Annually, offer timber for sale at an average projected timber sale quantity of 27.3 million board feet (5.5 million cubic feet)
    Footnote: Modeling of the projected timber sale quantity under an unlimited budget and consistent with all plan components resulted in an average annual volume output in the first decade of 38 million board feet (7.6 million cubic feet).
    02 Annually, offer commercial timber and other products for sale at an average annual projected wood sale quantity of 6.3 million cubic feet.
    Standard ((FW-STD-TIMB)
    01 The quantity of timber that may be sold per decade shall be less than or equal to the sustained yield limit of 25.4 million cubic feet per year, with the following exceptions: salvage or sanitation harvesting of timber stands that are substantially damaged by fire, windthrow, or other catastrophe or that are in imminent danger from insect or disease attack. In these situations, trees may be harvested over and above the sustained yield limit, consistent with the desired conditions for terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.
    FEIS Appendix 2
    Constraints as defined in the model were for modeling purposes only and do not create limitations for plan implementation.
    Harvest policy
    Harvest policy includes non-declining yield, long-term sustained yield, and ending inventory constraints. These constraints ensure that the timber yield is sustainable and will not decline in any decade.”

    Going back to this discussion of the sustained yield limit, the new information here is that the Flathead did base its PTSQ of 27.3 MMBF/yr. on non-declining flow. It just didn’t highlight that, and also says that the constraint does NOT apply to actual implementation. So what I think that really means is that NFMA limits harvest to the figure noted in the footnote on a decadal basis; the forest plan just doesn’t acknowledge that by including it as the standard.

    The other thing that the Flathead numbers demonstrate is how ridiculous the new pretend “limit” in the forest plan of 25.4 MMCF/yr. is because it is not limited to suitable acres or meeting forest plan requirements.


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