Fall 2014 Plan Revision Meeting Documents

Fall 2014 Plan Revision Meeting Summary

The current proposals shared with the public this fall are draft and designed to facilitate discussion. We’re seeking the public’s input by Jan. 5, 2015 to be most helpful to us.

The current draft proposal by the Forest Service reduces the total number of management areas from 21 to 16. The purpose would be to simplify the Plan, while meeting multiple goals.

The focus of the draft/proposed Management Area 1 is forest habitat diversity and resilience. Under the draft/proposal, this area would contain portions of many ecozones that provide the best opportunities for restoring a diversity of forest age classes and forest conditions. High-quality wildlife habitat would be provided for the broad range of species that benefit from grassy openings, young forest, and edges juxtaposed with mature and older forests.

The draft/proposed Management Area 2 would focus on restoration and connectivity of forests.

This management area would provide opportunities for restoring a diversity of forest age classes and forest conditions, but with less emphasis on young forest and more emphasis on connectivity of habitats.

Portions of Management Area 2 would be classified as suitable for timber production (2A) meaning the acres are capable of sustainable timber management, while other portions would be classified as unsuitable for timber production (2B). Management Area 1 and 2A are considered generally suitable for timber production; however, areas that are poorly productive or with rocky outcrops, for example, would make some sections unsuitable for timber production.

The 700,000 acres of land that make up management areas 1 and 2A is similar (actually less) to the total acreage that is tentatively suitable under the current management Plan.

Management area descriptions are there to guide management direction and suitability across the landscape, and to help prioritize management decisions. While there may be tens of thousands of acres in a proposed management area, it doesn’t mean that tens of thousands of acres will be managed or harvested in a year. Over the span of a 15-year life span of the two forests, an estimated 15 percent or less of the forest may be managed through the use of fire, harvest or other means.

The Forest Service uses a variety of practices to manage the national forests. Timber harvest is just one of the tools used to achieve the desired conditions in management areas that emphasize ecosystem diversity and wildlife habitat connectivity. Large clear cuts of the past no longer occur on the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests. Today, most timber harvest consists of two-age, shelterwood, and group selection harvests, where trees are left behind. Other management tools include prescribed burns, mowing and other methods.

The Forest Service actively manages (timber harvesting, prescribed burns, and other activities) approximately 1 percent of the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests’ 1 million acres each year. The amount of land that the Forest Service actively manages in a given year is small.

The Forest Service is committed to developing a management plan that uses available resources, including partnerships and collaborative efforts, to manage in a fiscally and ecologically sustainable manner.