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About the Project

Page history last edited by Kristina Ferrare 15 years, 3 months ago


Good Forestry in the Granite State: Recommended Voluntary Forest Management Practices for New Hampshire



Project Purpose


The purpose of the project is to update Good Forestry in the Granite State: Recommended Voluntary Forest Management Practices for New Hampshire (GFGS), a 200 page working field book documenting best management practices for the practice of sustainable forestry in New Hampshire. GFGS came about because of the widely recognized need in the mid-1990’s to develop a comprehensive guide to sustainable forest management in New Hampshire. Today it serves as an on the ground field guide for forestry professionals engaged in what is a $3 billion a year economy in New Hampshire.


History of Good Forestry in the Granite State


The first edition of GFGS was published in 1997 by the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests (SPNHF). Its preparation was a joint effort by SPNHF and the NH Department of Resources and Economic Development’s Division of Forests and Lands (NHF&L), and was authored by 24 stakeholders of New Hampshire’s forestry community known as the Forest Sustainability Standards Work Team (FSSWT). The effort also included hundreds of individuals and organizations statewide who provided thoughtful comments in the process of drafting GFGS.



Current Use of Good Forestry in the Granite State


Over 2000 copies of GFGS have been distributed in the past 10 years. GFGS is used by foresters and loggers as a core reference for their work in the woods. GFGS is used as a textbook in training programs for logger certification, programs run by the New Hampshire Timber Harvesting Council and the NH Timberland Owners Association. Foresters licensed by the state use GFGS as a core resource in preparing for licensure. Land trusts (including SPNHF) and government agencies (including DRED Division of Forests & Lands) that acquire perpetual conservation easements use an incorporation by reference to GFGS in their conservation easement language to prescribe the standard by which forestry will be conducted by the grantor of such easements. Continuing education programs for landowners, foresters, loggers and natural resource specialists are offered by the Granite State Division of the Society of American Foresters and by UNH Cooperative Extension (and their ten County Extension Foresters). These educators and their programs use GFGS as the operating manual for sustainable forestry in New Hampshire. Regulators at the NH Department of Environmental Services and foresters and rangers at the NH DRED Division of Forest & Lands use GFGS as a field and desktop reference.



Current Content of Good Forestry in the Granite State


The content of the 1997 edition of GFGS includes an introduction to principles of forest sustainability, six core resource sections, a glossary and three appendices. The core resource sections address 1) soil productivity, 2) water quality, wetlands and riparian areas, 3) habitat, 4) unique and fragile areas, 5) timber quality and flow and 6) forest aesthetics, visual quality and recreation. The appendices include 1) a resource information directory, 2) a list of third order and higher streams in New Hampshire and 3) best management practices for erosion control. The enumeration of best management practices in GFGS provides foresters and loggers with the kind of operating manual that --- if followed --- assures the sustainability of the state’s forest resources and conservation of all natural resources in the woods.



The Voluntary Nature of Forestry Practices and Standards in New Hampshire


New Hampshire is unique among heavily forested states in that forestry practices and standards are not mandated by state law but rather are voluntarily subscribed to by practitioners. This voluntary process is today guided by GFGS, a document which the State Forester is charged with coordinating in state statute (RSA 227-I:4), which provides: “The director (who also serves as the state forester) shall coordinate an effort to produce educational tools that identify recommended voluntary forest management practices for sites or practices which are ecologically sensitive due to soils, wildlife habitat, and other unique natural features such as high elevations, steep slopes, deer wintering areas, riparian zones, sensitive soils and clear cutting.”

The continued success of these voluntary forest management practices in New Hampshire requires that GFGS be periodically updated to account for advances in knowledge within the natural sciences, for changes in forestry markets and professional forestry practices, for changes in natural communities and for changes in state statutes and administrative rules, such as those recently adopted by the NH Legislature and the NH Department of Environmental Services for wetland and shore land conservation.



The Importance of New Hampshire’s Forests


Of New Hampshire’s 5.7 million acre land area, 84% (4.85 million acres) is forested, making New Hampshire second only to Maine in percentage of forested land base in the nation. Of this total, 4.67 million acres is classified by the US Forest Service as “timberland,” land that is fertile and accessible enough to produce wood as a crop. The large majority of this land (77%) is privately owned, most by family ownerships.

Forestry contributed $2.3 billion to the state’s economy in forest based manufacturing and forest related recreation and tourism, and is the State’s third largest manufacturing sector. This contribution includes 20,000 employees and a payroll of more than $500 million, and totals $1.2 billion in shipments of forest-based manufacturing (or 7% of New Hampshire’s total manufacturing sales). New Hampshire landowners received an estimated $45.9 million from trees harvested on their property, and paid timber taxes of 10% (or $4.6 million) to New Hampshire municipalities.

Wood-based fuel provides 6% of New Hampshire’s total electrical energy consumption, including PSNH’s Northern Wood Project at Schiller Station and five other operating wood to energy plants in the state. Public policies recently adopted by the state to create incentives for more wood to energy generation have stimulated considerable interest in new wood to energy generating station. Recent studies of the state’s forest resources indicate that the supply of low grade wood for additional generating stations is available, although there are limits to the capacity of the resource.



The Importance of Updating Good Forestry in the Granite State 


Updating GFGS will directly benefit this substantial sector of the State’s economy, assuring that New Hampshire’s forests are managed in a sustainable manner. Further, this updated GFGS will assure that all beneficiaries of the forestry market --- be they foresters, loggers, landowners, brokers, truckers, production facilities, or consumers --- are served by a common set of goals for sustainability of the State’s forests. GFGS defines forest sustainability as “The capacity of a forest to produce the goods we desire today without compromising the productive capability and the biological integrity on which future generations will depend.” Sustaining GFGS so it remains a vibrant and relevant resource to those providing wood to current and emerging markets is critical to sustaining the wood economy and the resource itself.



For more information contact: Karen Bennett, Project Manager, karen.bennett@unh.edu, 603.862.4861


Funding provided by: Northeast Utilities Foundation


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