Our Forestry Program: A Closer Look (PA Game News, March 2014)
Dave Gustafson (PGC Forestry Division Chief) speaks out about SGL Management. Most importantly, he identifies several reasons for the multiple *declines* in timber harvest thru the years. Interestingly, not ONE of the reasons is a suppressed timber market (due to economic recession). So, the very thing that so many here insisted was the #1 reason, is something Gustafson never even mentions! I feel vindicated.
Instead he says:
1980 - 1994 = high harvest due to gypsy moth salvage
1995 - 2000 = harvest DECREASE due to updating plans
2001 – 2004 = another harvest DECREASE due to 50% staff turnover
2005 – 2013 = another 30% staff turnover
Secondly, multiple times throughout the article he mentions a desire, and an actual *need* to do more in terms of habitat production: “What we’re finding is our plans are calling for many more acres to be managed through timber harvest than we can achieve.”. Duuh! I didn’t need a computer model or “comprehensive plan” to figure that out.
While the article was fairly balanced, I was disappointed there was no mention of:
1) Forested portion of SGL currently stand at a mere 9% young forest
2) USDA recommendation
to increase the % of young forest in PA
3) PGC 2008 Woodcock Plan
to create an additional 6,790 ac annually of young forest on SGL
4) PGC 2011 Grouse Plan
to create an additional 8,000 ac annually of young forest on SGL
According to this video
Sgl 314 got a whopping 20% cut all at once (see date stamp 07:10), and then re-cut every 5-10 years to maintain that 20% in young forest stage which is fantastic management and demonstrates it is responsible and can be done.
We hunters need to insist on higher timber harvest on our SGL to restore young forest habitat and associated game to previous levels. If ever there was a time to write letters and make phone calls, it is now! Forestry staff wants to do it, and the plans are in place to create more habitat. Gustafson identifies Governor Corbett as a limiting factor to the forestry staff. PGC Executive Director, PGC Commissioners, and Legislators could all be pressed. What do you say fellas?