Summary: After reviewing this timber harvest, it is my opinion that the forest owner has been treated in an unprofessional manner by the consulting forester, the forester buying the wood for the sawmill, and the logging crew. What was recently one of the best oak forests in the county has been The net result of the Managed Forest Law in Wisconsin is
severely damaged by this harvest. Removing all the good timber and leaving the worthless, unwanted timber cannot be reversed. Placing the main skid trail right down the bottom of the main valley (in the southern harvest area) was the worst possible location. There is no way to repair this damage, just smoothing it over would be superficial. Rutting of the soil, compaction of the forest soils, cutting the trees roots, is totally irresponsible. Harvesting the best timber and leaving a damaged forest - under the guise of "sound forestry" is unacceptable.
This is not just an isolated incident. I see this over and over and over.... trusted professional foresters using "sound forestry" to justify the ongoing destruction of our private woodlands - for the short-term profit of the industry.
Oh Yeah; We had a meeting in the woods with the forest owner, the consulting forester, two professional foresters from the sawmill, two DNR foresters, and the local LCD soils specialist. Basically, all the foresters ganged up on the forest owner and blamed him for wanting this harvest, and pressuring them to work during the wet soil conditions. Its all the forest owner's fault! (This is infuriating!)
(A week later a DNR supervisor inspected this job, and we are now waiting for a more official response)
How the traditional forestry system failed to produce "sound forestry":
A retired county forester used his knowledge, experience, and relationships to his advantage in being hired to administer the sale of this high quality forest. Everybody says "He's a real nice guy". He works on commission now, an outdated practice that is encouraging over-harvesting. He used "Sound Forestry" as a tool to convince the owner to harvest, then took personal advantage of the situation (just my opinion of course).
A DNR fire ranger wrote a Managed Forest Law management plan for the forest owner. This a 25 year contract that guides the business of forest management on the owners land. A forest management plan should be an economically sound business plan, yet government foresters with no business knowledge or experience are in charge of the program. The plan was not presented in a way that the forest owner could understand. Instead it blessed the marking job already done by the consultant and gave the impression to the forest owner that sound forestry was being practiced, and this would be good for the woods. Anything fishy here?
Hundreds of woodlot owners every year are being forced to enroll their land in the Manage Forest Law due to high property taxes. They do this for the tax break, not because they want a management plan or want to manage their woods. They sign the plan written by some "professional forester" trusting that they will indeed get "sound forestry". Few forest owners understand what they sign. The only mandatory practice is to harvest timber. Many later find out that the plan calls for major timber harvests.
to get more timber from private woodlots onto the market for the industry.
A long established large sawmill operation, listed in the DNR's Cooperating Foresters book, did not honor the written agreement they signed with the forest owner. Their work in the forest was destructive and non-professional.
In the traditional timber market, a logger must work steadily to make equipment payments on the large machinery used today. If an extended period of wet weather occurs, as it did in November and December 2001, loggers are forced to skid and haul logs when soil conditions are soft. This period of time, now extending into March 2002 has produced the most extensive and worst soil damage on logging jobs across the region that we have ever seen. Expensive logging equipment with big monthly payments causes extreme environmental damage in the forest. Forest owners, don't let this happen in your woods!