SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Active Forest Management is Healthy for Our Forests

By Clare Doig


April 30, 2015
Thursday AM

Many believe that the best way to conserve a forest is to do NOTHING – no roads, no harvest, no management. The Big Thorne Timber Sale located on the Prince of Wales Island in Southeast Alaska has been actively managed by the U.S. Forest Service for many years, however conservationists continue to try and stop active forest management. The area already has road access developed from past timber harvest to support future timber harvest. Previously harvested areas have been naturally regenerated or planted, and pre-commercially thinned to improve the overall forest health, including habitat for Sitka black-tailed deer and prey species such as wolves. In reality, a forest that is not managed actively has limited access for wildfire management and/or combating insect infestations or disease.

Forests are dynamic systems that can be managed to provide a sustainable flow of forest products as well as healthy growing trees and enhanced habitat for resident species of fish and game. Social benefits of an actively managed forest include providing an employment base for local communities, opportunities for recreation and subsistence harvest of fish and game, as well as gathering berries, cedar bark, mushrooms, and spruce roots; thereby contributing to the general quality of life for rural residents.

Management of forests in Southeast Alaska or anywhere in Alaska for that matter, is based on the principle of sustainability and maintenance of environmental quality. These principles are embodied in the forest management planning process as well as in the regulations that govern timber harvest and management of the regenerated forest.

Our society has a desire for wildlife enhancement, improvement of watershed quality and areas to recreate, but our society also has a need for wood products. Therefore, active forest management, such as the Big Thorne Timber Sale, helps to balance the forest’s social and economic values.

Clare Doig
President, The Working Forest Group (TWFG)
Anchorage, Alaska


About: "Mr. Doig, a Certified Forester, was born and raised in Sitka, Alaska and has worked as a professional forester in Alaska for most of his career."

Received April 28, 2015 - Published April 30, 2015


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