SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

$4 million agreement signed to complete young growth inventory, job training and development in Southeast Alaska


August 02, 2015
Sunday PM

(SitNews) Ketchikan, Alaska - The U.S. Forest Service and the State of Alaska signed a $4 million challenge cost share agreement to work collaboratively to collect, analyze, and evaluate forest resource information to ensure sound, sustainable forest management practices across Southeast Alaska. The agreement will also directly support forest-related workforce development and improvements to forest industry infrastructures.

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Specific timber objectives of the agreement address inventory work for young growth (50,000 acres) and old growth (20,000 acres) across federal lands, as well as inventory and treatment of young growth stands on State of Alaska and private lands.

This effort supports Secretary Vilsack’s steps to conserve the 17-million-acre Tongass National Forest by transitioning to sustainable, second growth forest management from an old-growth- dependent timber sale program while maintaining a viable forest products industry.

Alaska Regional Forester Beth Pendleton expressed her support saying, “The agency fully stands behind this agreement. It affirms our goals to transition to young growth forest management to promote small businesses, improve access to capital, and create quality jobs and sustainable economic growth in Southeast Alaska.”

Pendleton added that both the Forest Service and the State are seeking to promote job training and educational opportunities and maximize a forest restoration economy and by-product industry. For the Forest Service, this mission is delivered through the State and Private Forestry program.

“It is important for the State of Alaska to work closely with the Forest Service as it manages its timber resource on public lands in the State,” said Alaska State Forester Chris Maisch. “The State brings valuable forest resources, economic expertise and capacity to the table to accomplish all objectives of this agreement.”

The Secretary emphasized that the transition must take place “in a way that preserves a viable timber industry that provides jobs and opportunities for residents of Southeast Alaska.”

In Spring 2014, Secretary Vilsack created the Tongass Advisory Committee, or TAC, to provide advice and recommendations for developing an ecologically, socially, and economically sustainable forest management strategy on the Tongass National Forest that emphasized a shift to young growth management.

In May 2015, the Ttongass Advisory Committee (TAC) provided the Forest Service with a set of consensus recommendations with a focus on community health and economic vitality, designed to meet this goal.

According to a news release, the Alaska Division of Forestry and the U.S. Forest Service will work collaboratively in the coming years with members of the TAC, communities, and other partners to improve existing young-growth information and increase economic opportunities for local communities in both the short and long term.




Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews


On the Web:

Tongass National Forest young-growth transition strategy, the TAC, and the Forest Plan


Source of News:

USFS - Tongass National Forest


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