Apalachicola National Forest 2000-2009 Planning Period In 2000 the three National Forests in Florida began operating under a 10 year Land and Resource Management Plan. This presentation will examine the results of timber resource management on the largest of these forests, the Apalachicola, for the planning period that has just ended. We make reference to other forests in the Southern Region as appropriate. Land managers have two principal tools available: fire and timber harvesting. The 10 year record for fire use is good: 86% (947,000 acres) of the planned prescribed burn area was treated. Let’s look at how well the Forest managed the timber resource and how this has affected some other key components of the ecosystem. Net annual growth 14.0 MMcf + Annual mortality 5.7 MMcf = Gross annual growth 19.7 MMcf mortality 29% net growth 71% Data from USFS FIA 2007 McC 01-25-10 How much wood are we talking about? Timber on the Apalachicola N.F. is growing at the rate of about ~2% annually: a gross increase of 19.7 million cubic feet (MMcf) every year . 19.7 MMcf =~236,000 stacked cords 4 ft. One stacked cord = 128 cubic feet of wood, bark 100 cubic feet of wood and air or ~85 cu. ft. of = ~1.2 stacked cords wood. 8 ft. The Forest grows enough wood each year to make a line of stacked cords ~360 miles long How much wood did we plan to cut? The 1999 Land and Resource Plan calls for an annual average cut of 3.5 MMcf or 18% of the total growth Total growth = inventory increase + cut + mortality = 19.7 MMcf mortality planned cut 29% 18% Inventory increase 53% Growth & mortality from USFS FIA 2007 McC 01-25-10 How much wood did we actually cut? The 10 year average annual cut was .95 MMcf or 5% of the total annual growth mortality Inventory 30% increase 65% actual cut 5% Growth & Mortality USFS FIA 2007 McC 01-25-10 In Summary – Annual Average , 10 year results of management 25 Millions of Cubic Feet Growth, Mortality, Harvest 20 Net Annual Growth 15 14 10 5 Mortality 5.7 3.5 0 0.95 planned Cut actual cut McC 01-25-10 The Apalachicola NF harvested 5% of total annual growth 29 % of the growth died Impacts of timber non-management Increase in the per unit cost of timber sales Decrease in the return to the land owners (people of the U.S.) Decline in the revenues to counties for schools and roads Forest dependent industries downsize or shut down Jobs are lost and communities suffer Harvesting infrastructure is lost Stands become denser; basal area increases Quality growth slows Mortality (insects, disease) increases Fire hazard, occurrence, and intensity increase Red-cockaded woodpecker (RCW) and other wildlife habitat becomes poorer (More on this) Timber Harvest and the RCW 20 year decline 3 year moving averages McC 01-25-10 The Apalachicola National Forest is not alone in having this problem. The 20 year harvest decline and failure to meet planning goals regionally, and nationally is very similar to our local situation. Here’s the situation on the Ocala N.F. Historic Creation of Scrub Jay Habitat (Sand Pine Acres Sold) Acres Accomplished vs. LRMP Objectives 6000 6000 5601 5601 5000 5000 4000 4000 ac annual objective 4000 3000 3000 2619 2619 2645 2645 2456 2456 2000 2000 2021 2021 1951 1951 1341 1341 1000 1000 723 723 0 0 00 00 01 01 02 02 03 03 04 04 05* 05* 06 06 07 07 Ac Accomplished Ac Accomplished * Hurricanes Slide by Carl Petrick, USFS Here’s what has happened on the Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests in North Carolina. The ruffed grouse, along with many other game and non-game wildlife species is dependent on early successional habitat created by forest disturbances, principally timber harvesting. Reduced harvesting is associated with a declining population of this iconic game bird of the forested uplands. Here’s what has happened nationwide The Record shows that: During the past 10 years, the Apalachicola National Forest planned to cut 18% of the annual growth and actually harvested about 5%. Mortality was 6 times greater that the cut. Over the past 20 years, the density of pine timber stands has increased by about 30%, and more than 67,000 acres now have densities exceeding 50 sq. ft./ac, the basal area required for optimum RCW habitat Over the past 20 years, the population of the red-cockaded woodpecker on the Apalachicola N.F. has suffered a 15% decline, all of it on the Wakulla Habitat Management Area where the decline has been 45%. On the Ocala N.F. scrub jay habitat (created primarily by sand pine timber sales) has declined by 10,000 acres over the past 6 years. Current manpower and financing is insufficient to support the timber sale program needed to maintain forest health, provide adequate habitat for endangered species, and to support forest dependent local governments, communities and industries. The problem of National Forest virtual non-management of its timber resource is nation wide. Some thoughts on solving the timber program funding problem: Simplify EAs. (probability of success - excellent) Outsource field work and writing of EAs and sale prep. (prob. - good to high) Reorder forest priorities and shift funds. (Prob. - unknown) Secure Congressional approval for NFs in Florida and other selected forests to test the feasibility of timber program self-financing as is now done on DOD land (Title 10, USC 2665. See Appendices 1,2) . (prob. – unknown ) Secure adequate congressional funding. (prob. - zero to very low) When all else fails: Transfer/sell manageable timber land to other federal, state, NGO, or private entities with restrictive covenants and convey the balance to the State or U.S. Park Service. Conditions on the Apalachicola National Forest are representative of the National Forest System and the basic management principles involved are applicable nationwide. In general, the adverse economic, social, and mortality (fire and insect) impacts of under-management on Western National Forests have been much greater than on those in the East. For those wishing to research conditions on their local Forest, growth and mortality data for all National Forests are available on-line from the U.S.F.S. Forest Inventory and Analysis program. Your local Forest Supervisor can provide information on planned and harvested volumes. This presentation was produced pro bono publico and may be freely distributed for that purpose. W. V. McConnell U.S. Forest Service Ret. (1943-73) 1023 San Luis Road, Tallahassee, FL. firstname.lastname@example.org APPENDIX 1 Extract from United States Code TITLE 10 > Subtitle A > PART IV > CHAPTER 159 > § 2665 § 2665. Sale of certain interests in land; logs (a) The President, through an executive department, may sell to any person or foreign government any interest in land that is acquired for the production of lumber or timber products, except land under the control of the Department of the Army or the Department of the Air Force. (b) The President, through an executive department, may sell to any person or foreign government any forest products produced on land owned or leased by a military department or the Department in which the Coast Guard is operating. (c) Sales under subsection (a) or (b) shall be at prices determined by the President acting through the selling agency. (d) Appropriations of the Department of Defense may be reimbursed for all costs of production of forest products pursuant to this section from amounts received as proceeds from the sale of any such property. (e) (1) Each State in which is located a military installation or facility from which forest products are sold in a fiscal year is entitled at the end of such year to an amount equal to 40 percent of (A) the amount received by the United States during such year as proceeds from the sale of forest products produced on such installation or facility, less (B) the amount of reimbursement of appropriations of the Department of Defense under subsection (d) during such year attributable to such installation or facility. (2) The amount paid to a State pursuant to paragraph (1) shall be expended as the State legislature may prescribe for the benefit of the public schools and public roads of the county or counties in which the military installation or facility is situated. (3) In a case in which a military installation or facility is located in more than one State or county, the amount paid pursuant to paragraph (1) shall be distributed in a manner proportional to the area of such installation or facility in each State or county. (f) (1) There is in the Treasury a reserve account administered by the Secretary of Defense for the purposes of this section. Balances in the account may be used for costs of the military departments— (A) for improvements of forest lands; (B) for unanticipated contingencies in the administration of forest lands and the production of forest products for which other sources of funds are not available in a timely manner; and (C) for natural resources management that implements approved plans and agreements. (2) There shall be deposited into the reserve account the total amount received by the United States as proceeds from the sale of forest products sold under subsections (a) and (b) less— (A) reimbursements of appropriations made under subsection (d), and (B) payments made to States under subsection (e). (3) The reserve account may not exceed $4,000,000 on December 31 of any calendar year. Unobligated balances exceeding $4,000,000 on that date shall be deposited into the United States Treasury. APPENDIX 2 Some Pro and Con arguments for a Self Financed Timber Program: (These are arguments that have been advance d. They may or may not be factual. They may or may not be relevant.) Pro- Will provide the means, not now available, for the U.S. Forest Service to follow Congressional direction for resource management as expressed in the National Forest Management Act of 1976, the Endangered Species Act of 1973, and related legislation. Will help insure continued economic survival of N.F. dependent counties after the expiration, in the year 2011, of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self- Determination Act of 2000. Will create jobs and stimulate the economy Will allow increased local participation in decision making through Resource Advisory Councils. Will provide an incentive for efficient management and be budget neutral or positive. A trial run of the program on selected forests will allow an assessment of its impacts on the Federal budget and returns to the treasury, on the social and economic condition of counties, communities and forest industries, and on the quality of resource management. The concept is simple, easy to apply, and has been thoroughly tested on timberlands managed by the Department of Defense . Con – Will reduce Congressional oversight over National Forest management and control over the expenditure of federal monies. Will result in negative ―scoring‖ in returns to the treasury and in an increase in the public debt. Will encourage continued dependency of Forest Counties on the Federal Government and discourage self-sufficiency and problem-solving through private enterprise. Will promote unrestrained, irresponsible logging and massive resource damage. The concept is non-traditional to and untested by the Forest Service.