You are receiving this email
because you have been identified by the Massachusetts Forest and Park
Friends Network as someone who cares about our public lands. Please take
a minute to read this important message about the Forest Futures
Visioning Process, an issue that will affect every forest and park in
Friends Objections to the TSC Recommendations|
The Department of
Conservation and Recreation (DCR) formed the Forest Futures Visioning
Process (FFVP) to make recommendations on the future management of
Massachusetts' state forests because many of you found logging practices
on state land unacceptable. The process comprised two groups: the
Technical Steering Committee (TSC), a group of "experts"; and the
Advisory Group of Stakeholders (AGS), a group representing public
interests. The TSC has prepared a draft of its recommendations for
For the past 10 months, Friends Network
representatives on the AGS have repeatedly presented the TSC with the
concerns that led to the formation of the FFVP in the first place. While
the TSC's recommendations answer some of our concerns, many remain. The
Friends Network wants you to know where we think more work is needed if
we are truly to develop a new vision for the management of our forests.
2. No to "early successional habitat" as an excuse for clear-cutting.|
TSC proposes clear-cutting 30,000 acres to "create early successional
habitat", but we think this is used as an excuse for clear-cutting
timberland. Clear-cutting to create wildlife habitat only has the
desired effect for 3-5 years, after which time saplings take over and
wildlife moves on. Heidi Ricci, Mass Audubon's Senior Policy Analyst and
a member of the AGS said, "On early successional, its not just whether
DCR should do such management at all but how and where. Many people
question whether rather random holes in the forest are the right way to
do this, vs. targeted management of overground fields, expansion of
existing open areas, etc." We prefer a compromise, whereby wildlife
habitat is managed on a small subset of lands—4,500 acres on a continual
15 year rotation (300 acres/year cut every 15 years). Let's maintain
meadows and ensure forest rotation that really benefits wildlife.
Find out what other AGS members had to say about early successional
management and other topics at the AGS Google Group.
3. Strengthen language that protects parklands from commercial timber
Creating a new land zoning system (parklands, working
woodlands, and reserves) is a good idea. Parklands zoning will be
managed primarily for recreation, much like the urban park system, with
cutting only for hazard trees, to maintain views, etc. Because they are
unique, please join us in asking that Bradley Palmer, Boxford State
Forest, Cleaveland Farms, Georgetown Rowley, Harold Parker and
Willowdale become designated parklands.
To find out if your forest is targeted for logging go to Friends Network
"Forestry Concerns Page". Scroll down to "Which forests are to be used
for timber? Is your favorite on the list?".
4. Set aside 7% of Massachusetts lands in reserves and parklands.|
lands can supply timber, but they cannot provide recreation,
biodiversity, wildlife corridors, and carbon sequestration like public
lands can. William Moomaw, Professor of International Environmental
Policy at The Fletcher School, Tufts University, and a TSC member who
wants more land in reserve than the TSC recommendations allow, said,
"Many developing countries are trying to protect 10-25% of their forests
(Surinam and Guyana are over 80%), while we are at the 1-2% level for
reserves in Massachusetts. The TSC proposed increase brings us up to
3-4% of statewide lands." Audubon and Sierra Club are also advocating
for more protected lands than the TSC. The AGS wants 80% parklands and
reserves and 20% working woodlands; only ~ 7% of MA protected from
logging. Is that really too much to ask for?
To see what the TSC has to say, see Forest Futures Technical Steering
5. Demand site-specific resource management plans for each state forest
Improved planning processes for our forests include
ecology, recreation, wildlife, historic resources and other important
land values. The TSC did not address the fact that the law governing
forestry states, "The commissioner of conservation and recreation shall
submit management plans to the stewardship council for the council's
adoption with respect to all reservations, parks, and forests under the
management of the department, regardless of whether such reservations,
parks, or forests lie within the urban parks district or outside the
urban parks district. "The plans are to "provide for the protection and
stewardship of natural and cultural resources." Please join us in
insisting that DCR create Resource Management Plans for each forest and
park, starting with the state forests open to commercial timber
6. Say no to creating a Commissioner of Forest Stewardship.|
wants to create a new position, the Commissioner Forest Stewardship,
within the bureaucracy of the Office of Energy and Environment Affairs
(EOEEA). Instead, of hiring another timber-interest bureaucrat, please
ask for a forest ecologist or a conservation biologist to advise
existing state agencies on how to best protect and preserve public
forests. Let's keep Forestry under DCR management to better balance all
values of state land.
8. No thanks to FSC Certification of state forests. |
The TSC is
promoting the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification program,
which they say protects our forests. But it took citizens pointing out
gross violations that caused the state to loose certification. FSC is a
distant international organization, is costly, promotes clear-cutting,
and has proven ineffective for protecting public forests. We recommend
stronger regulations and local oversight to protect forests.
To learn more about problems with FSC see fsc-watch.org.
9. Support real public forums.|
The FFVP public forums have been
designed to limit democratic discussion and input. Two of the meetings
have been scheduled to start at 5:00 p.m. How can working people attend?
the forum, you will be shunted into small groups where a "facilitator"
will write down your comments. We believe everyone who attends the
forums should have the right to make comments directly to state
officials and be heard by everyone else in the room. Please support the
Friends Network at the forums when we stand up and ask for a true
The TSC draft recommendations. Please read and decide if this is the
vision you expected.
The FFVP comment period closes February 22. Please submit written
comments via email to: MODRDCRFFVP@umb.edu or attend a public forum.|
public forums will be at the following dates, times, and locations:
February 4, 2010, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. (Snow date: Tuesday,
February 16) Westborough Public Library, 55 West Main Street,
Saturday, February 6, 2010, 10 a.m.- Noon (Snow
date: Saturday, February 13) North Adams Public Library, 74
Church Street, North Adams .
Saturday, February 6, 2010, 2 p.m. -
4 p.m. (Snow date: Saturday, February 13) Berkshire
Community College - Melville Hall Room 201, 1350 West Street,
Tuesday, February 9, 2010, 5 p.m. - 7 p.m. Jones Library, 43
Thursday, February 11, 2010, 5 p.m. - 7 p.m. (Snow date:
Thursday, February 18) Taunton Public Library, 12 Pleasant Street,
See DCR information on FFVP public meetings here.
Thank you for caring about the future of Massachusetts'
Your friends in the Massachusetts Forest and Park