CALIFORNIA BOARD OF FORESTRY VOTES TO SUPPORT LIMITS ON CLEARCUTTING!
Earlier this year, Forests Forever and other groups concerned about clearcut logging in Jackson State Redwood Forest urged the California Department of Forestry and the Board of Forestry to revise Alternative G in the draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) the state was proposing as the new management plan for the forest. Conservationists particularly objected to the amount of clearcutting permitted by Alternative G.
In October, the board voted to support a revised Alternative G to the draft EIR that is based on a consensus plan supported by the Campaign to Save Jackson State Redwood Forest, the Sierra Club, and the Mendocino Working Group, a coalition of conservationists and timber industry representatives.
This new alternative contains, among other provisions, strong safeguards against clearcutting, a major goal of Forests Forever and the other groups working to protect Jackson Forest.
Another key provision of the revised alternative G is the establishment of an outside advisory committee. This advisory committee will work with forest managers during a three-year interim period of restricted harvesting to develop a long-range management plan for the forest.
Timber production will no longer be defined as the main purpose of the forest. Instead, Jackson will be managed for research, wildlife habitat, restoration, and recreation. Timber harvest will fund the management of Jackson, but projects will only be considered in terms of the other uses of the forest.
The Board will consider the revised EIR and management plan for Jackson Forest on January 9, 2008.
The Campaign to Save Jackson Redwood Forest has more news on its website.
KEEP CLEARCUTTING OUT OF JACKSON STATE FOREST!
years of writing letters, attending meetings, filing lawsuits and
generally raising a ruckus, the conservation community has finally
seen a plan for Jackson State Forest that it can live with.
Among the concerns now before us: The plan still calls for too much acreage to be clearcut.
The draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) that covers the proposed management plan for Jackson Forest has been in the works for some years. The lawsuit Forests Forever (along with the Campaign to Restore Jackson State Redwood Forest) won in 2003 against the California Board of Forestry was based on the agency’s incomplete, faulty EIR.
Our victory required the California Department of Forestry to draw up a new EIR for its forest management plan before logging could begin again. Nearly four years after the ruling, logging has still not resumed.
In December 2005 the CDF released a new draft EIR for public comment. The CDF’s Preferred Alternative C-1 would have reinstated the same forest management plan that was in place when Forests Forever brought its lawsuit. It would have logged 30 percent of the forest, allowed an annual timber harvest of 31 million board feet, and permitted clearcutting for “research purposes.”
Now, after sorting through the many comments it received from concerned Californians about the draft EIR, the agency has come up with a new plan that it says responds to those concerns.
On the whole, the new EIR is a good plan. Under its Alternative G, the amount of logging has been lowered to 20 million board feet. It sets aside old-growth forest, and has a more focused approach to research, among other promising features. And it would appoint a bona fide public advisory committee for Jackson Forest.
The one aspect of this new alternative that concerns us, however, is that it would allow clearcutting on more than a quarter of the forest.
Any clearcutting should be done only as part of carefully defined, clearly necessary research projects limited in size and scope.
And any timber harvest project in Jackson Forest should first be reviewed by the public advisory committee.
Located on the Mendocino coast near Ft. Bragg, Jackson is the largest of eight state-owned forests in California, covering nearly 50,000 acres. It is the only state forest that is home to a significant percentage of mature redwoods, an increasingly rare and valuable forest ecosystem for both wildlife habitat and recreation.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Write to the CDF. Tell them you want any clearcutting on Jackson Forest to take place only as part of a clearly defined, limited research project.
I support the Environmental Impact Statement’s Alternative G for its emphasis on research, forest restoration and ecological health, and recreation and public enjoyment.
However, I strongly oppose giving the forest managers at Jackson State Forest an open-ended license to clearcut thousands of acres each decade to provide for unspecified "future research possibilities." We need more research on restoring forests, not on destroying them.
I cannot support Alternative G in its present form. Any clearcut or similar destructive harvest needs to have an explicit research justification and be limited to the minimum area required for scientific validity, as recommended by the Mendocino County working group.
I applaud the interim period in Alternative G during which forest managers will work with a new public advisory committee to develop a long-range landscape and management plan.
To ensure success of the interim planning effort, all proposed interim timber harvests need to be reviewed by the Jackson Advisory Committee. This review is needed to assure that interim harvests are designed and chosen so as to keep open planning options for restoration, habitat, and recreation to the maximum extent feasible.
We are close to ending the long controversy that has kept our public forest shut down for eight years. Please make the requested changes in Alternative G. You will have my thanks and support for moving us forward.
Please send us a copy of your letter!
You can read the draft EIR here (available as PDFs):
For more information on Jackson State Forest, see our website:
Also see the Campaign to Restore Jackson State Redwood Forest at:
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