New England News
6:19 pm
Thu April 5, 2012

Massachusetts Announces New Land Use Maps For State Forests

If approved by the DCR Stewardship Council, the Massachusetts’ new forest management plan would end the three year “Forest Futures Visioning Process”. After public environmental concerns, particularly from the logging of Savoy Mountain State Forest, Massachusetts placed a moratorium on harvesting timber from state-owned land.

Stephanie Cooper, Asst. Secretary for Land and Forest Conservation for the Department of Energy and Environmental Affairs and somebody who worked with the DCR during the Visioning Process, says that in the past three years the state heard comments from the public to formulate the State’s new land management maps.

In addition to the maps, DCR has also released forest management guidelines for each of the three classifications, woodlands, parklands, and reserves.

Approximately 24% will be classified as parklands, 36% as reserves. Cooper said that while the reserves are more-or-less “hands-off” the state will still take some precautions in managing the forest.

The remaining 40% classified as woodlands will be open to commercial logging. Before the moratorium was placed in 2009, it’s estimated that 90% of lands were available for timber harvesting. The new maps would only allow about 40%

Jeff Poirier, President of the Massachusetts Wood Producers Association, said that by restricting private forest management to state forests, it could put the health and value of the state forests at risk.

Poirier continued that management does not necessarily mean commercial harvesting, but prescribing practices to an area of land to improve forest health or obtain conservational goals.

In Berkshire County, is which is more heavily forested than the rest of the state, will host only 6% of its state forests as parklands. 53% will be left as reserves, and 41% as woodlands. Some city officials had concerns with the 2011 maps. The 2012 maps addressed some issues.

The DCR Stewardship Council is expected to vote tomorrow on the plan.If approved by the DCR Stewardship Council, the Massachusetts’ new forest management plan would end the three year “Forest Futures Visioning Process”. After public environmental concerns, particularly from the logging of Savoy Mountain State Forest, Massachusetts placed a moratorium on harvesting timber from state-owned land.

Stephanie Cooper, Asst. Secretary for Land and Forest Conservation for the Department of Energy and Environmental Affairs and somebody who worked with the DCR during the Visioning Process, says that in the past three years the state heard comments from the public to formulate the State’s new land management maps.

In addition to the maps, DCR has also released forest management guidelines for each of the three classifications, woodlands, parklands, and reserves.

Approximately 24% will be classified as parklands, 36% as reserves. Cooper said that while the reserves are more-or-less “hands-off” the state will still take some precautions in managing the forest.

The remaining 40% classified as woodlands will be open to commercial logging. Before the moratorium was placed in 2009, it’s estimated that 90% of lands were available for timber harvesting. The new maps would only allow about 40%

Jeff Poirier, President of the Massachusetts Wood Producers Association, said that by restricting private forest management to state forests, it could put the health and value of the state forests at risk.

Poirier continued that management does not necessarily mean commercial harvesting, but prescribing practices to an area of land to improve forest health or obtain conservation goals.

In Berkshire County, is which is more heavily forested than the rest of the state, will host only 6% of its state forests as parklands. 53% will be left as reserves, and 41% as woodlands. Some city officials had concerns with the 2011 maps. The 2012 maps addressed some issues.

The DCR Stewardship Council is expected to vote Friday on the plan.