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December 16, 2009 Minutes

Page history last edited by Kristina Ferrare 11 years, 9 months ago

Good Forestry in the Granite State

Steering Committee Meeting

December 16, 2009

ConservationCenter, Concord NH

 

Karen Bennett, UNH Cooperative Extension, Bob Bradbury, Landvest, Emily Brunkhurst, NH Fish and Game, Phil Bryce, Fountains America, Inc., Susan Cox, USFS State and Private Forestry, Northeast Area, Kristina Ferrare, UNH Cooperative Extension, Will Guinn for Ken Desmarais, NH DRED, Division of Forests and Lands, Geoff Jones, forester, Bill Leak, USFS Northeastern Research Station, Linda Magoon, NH DES – Water Division, Chris Mattrick, USFS White Mountain National Forest, Brad Simpkins, NH DRED, Division of Forests and Lands, Will Staats, NH Fish and Game, Jasen Stock, NHTOA, Dave Tellman, NH Tree Farm and landowner, Dick Weyrick, GSD SAF, Mariko Yamasaki, USFS Northeastern Research Station, Mark Zankel, NH Chapter - The Nature Conservancy.

 

Karen called the meeting to order at 9:05 a.m. She told the committee that she intended to end the meeting by 12:30 p.m. or 1:00 p.m.

 

Review of November 10, 2009 Draft Minutes

 

Mark Zankel moved to accept the minutes. Chris Mattrick seconded the motion. There were no changes requested to the draft minutes. November 10 minutes passed with no changes.

 

Changes to the format/structure of the book

 

Karen explained that we did not bring photocopies of all the comments submitted during the public comment period. Everything we received is posted on the web site and hopefully people have reviewed as many comments as possible prior to this meeting.

 

Emily said it would have been helpful if the letters were categorized somehow, in order to easily know which topics were addressed in each letter.

 

Karen explained that the letters were difficult to categorize and at this point we will not be changing the organization of the public comments page.

 

Karen told the group that she wanted to focus the discussion on the order of the chapters, shortening, combining, or deleting chapters, and the addition of new material.

 

Will Staats reminded the group that we should consider what the document must address per the statute before deciding to delete material.

 

Brad Simpkins brought a handout the statute.

 

RSA 227 – I:4 mandates that Good Forestry address “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 clearcutting.”

 

Karen began with the introductory sections. She explained that it seemed that some of our key messages got lost. Perhaps there is too much in the introductory section. She suggested that it only have a forward from the state forester and “Using this Manual – Required Reading”. The “Your land and the larger landscape” chapter could be condensed and put into the “First Steps in Forest Management” chapter. “First Steps” would then be moved into the Getting Started chapter. There was no discussion on these suggestions, and she will make these changes.

 

Karen asked the group what key messages the state forester should deliver. Will S. said he should discuss the history of the document and why we are revising it. Brad said the complete statute should be in the message.

 

Karen suggested the importance of our forests to the economy. Emily added that forests are also important to our ecology and that management is ecologically sound.

 

Susan Cox said the theme of keeping forest as forest should be in the message.

 

Karen said there should be a message that this is not a regulatory document. Brad added that he should address conservation easement language, town ordinances and biomass harvesting guidelines.

 

Brad explained that there is a lot of activity at the federal level about what kinds of biomass can be used to meet renewable energy standards. The federal definition of biomass says it must be sustainably harvested according to biomass harvesting guidelines. States that do not develop their own biomass harvesting guidelines may have the guidelines developed for them. It is preferable for states to develop them for themselves. Good Forestry can be used for NH biomass harvesting guidelines rather than developing a different document later.

 

Dave Tellman asked whether there is enough data available to develop the guidelines.  Brad explained that there are initiatives going on now with energy and air quality folks, but not forestry folks. Some states have guidelines that conflict with other states’ guidelines. The Northeast Association of State Foresters will be working to help states that do not currently have guidelines to develop them. We should state clearly in the forward that Good Forestry contains New Hampshire biomass harvesting guidelines.

 

Bill Leak said that soil productivity is dependent upon land, soil, and nutrient protection. There is not a case in NH of biomass harvesting negatively effecting soil nutrients. He referenced a USFS publication (Campbell, et al.). This should be stated in the document.

 

Karen will send a link to the USFS publication to committee members.

 

Bill added that the issue of audience seems confusing to people. He asked if we have resolved the issue.

 

Karen said that we have. The book is for landowners and the professionals who help them.

 

Linda Magoon said that the level of knowledge between these two groups is very different. We should pick one group. Karen agreed that it is very difficult to address two groups with different backgrounds. The document may stretch the landowner audience and not be sophisticated enough for the forester audience. Some suggestions, such as minimizing references, will help make it more accessible to landowners.

 

Dave noted that he never takes Good Forestry into the woods with him. He and his wife have used the first edition numerous times. He said that it is impossible to include all information in one document.  The editor does need to clean up the document, but he does not want to see a lot of the technical information eliminated.

 

Karen said she will especially pay attention to landowner comments that the draft is “too technical”.

 

Susan Cox shared the draft with a forest landowner. He handed it back and said it is “just too much”.  She asked if we had considered the type of landowner that we would like to reach, such as a small landowner who is not managing yet. How do we bring them in?

 

Emily suggested that organization can solve a lot of the problems. The introductory section can help set the stage for those landowners who are just getting started.

 

Karen has seen certain chapters used by foresters in their management plans and appendices. 

 

Chris Mattrick said the present format is tough to read.

 

Bob Bradbury suggested saying that forestry is science but science is evolving. Karen agreed, adding that forestry is based on science AND practice and both evolve and change. 

 

Regarding the lack of emphasis on harvesting, Dave suggested stating up front that this is a tool to use as a guide if you want to cut timber. The statement sets the emphasis on harvesting.

 

Geoff Jones added that, if Good Forestry is not a regulatory document the tone should not be regulatory or bureaucratic. Some chapters have this tone.

 

Bill asked where we address the wide range of landowner objectives. Susan added that the text should address that it is not possible to follow every recommendation in the book.

 

This subject would be addressed in the required reading chapter. Karen said that the editing team considered including everything in the Required Reading chapter in the Forward.  She thinks, however, that the required reading chapter should be separate.

 

Emily agreed. She asked that the Forward be titled something other than “Forward” since some people will not read it at all. She suggested “Setting the Stage”.

 

Will S. added that Brad’s message should have a different tone than the rest of the book. He suggested “A Message from your State Forester” as the title.

 

Karen asked Brad to write his message for the committee to review. She also asked if he would address the right to harvest law. He said yes.

 

The discussion about chapter order, additions, and deletions continued.

 

Karen suggested that the Getting Started chapter include First Steps in Forest Management. This section would stay almost the same as in the First Edition. Your Land and the Larger Landscape would also be condensed into the Getting Started section.

 

Someone suggested including information about Current Use and the importance of using professionals in Getting Started.

 

Regarding the comments that more needed to be included about the importance of landowner objectives, someone suggested that the notion of landowner objectives ought to be in more than just the planning section.

 

Mark said that landowner goals and objectives are the driver behind everything. This message is very important. However, the discussion does not need to be called “setting objectives” because that many be too technical.

 

Will S. suggested that the discussion be framed by the question “Why do you own your land?” The answer to this question guides the management process.

 

Susan suggested that NH Forest Types does not need to be up front in the document. Will Guinn said it may be more appropriate in the silviculture section.

 

Karen asked the group where the section on safety belongs.

 

Dave Tellman cautioned about the current use discussion. There is value to making a statement about forest activities and current use, but be cautious about introducing too much new information. 

 

Jasen added that a change in forest type can affect current use status. We do not want to get into the technical information about current use in Good Forestry. We should link to or reference other resources.

 

Karen said the conservation easement discussion must happen early in the document. It should be up front.

 

Brad asked if it would be in estate planning and land protection.

 

Jasen added that it should be in Required Reading. Some landowners may purchase property with an easement and not be doing estate planning yet.

 

Brad added that he intends to address easements in his message. It should also be a concept in required reading.

 

Mark asked if the group should discuss the use of the term “stewardship planning” vs. “forest management planning”, as one of the comments objected to the phrase “stewardship planning.”

 

Susan pointed out that we need to use words that landowners are familiar with.

 

Jasen did not want to use the phrase “forest sustainability planning”. He said that what is sustainable to one person is not sustainable to another. He advised staying away from the term “sustainable” but agreed that “forest management planning” is fine.

 

Geoff agreed that the term “sustainable” is confusing. Bill also thinks it is a misleading term.

 

Emily said we mean keeping forest as forest. Sustainability means keeping the forests and all their functionality intact.

 

Mark said it seems odd not mention the term “sustainable” at all in the document. Many people are trying to figure out how to live sustainably on earth. It seems like people would be surprised not to encounter this term at all in the text. Mark suggested we consider its use in the document on a case by case bases.

 

Karen explained that the term is used mostly in the introductory material. Each NH forest type has a paragraph that deals with sustainably issues. She agreed that the term should be considered on a case by base basis. 

 

Emily offered that perhaps we need to address the range of perspectives on sustainability. We want a balanced approach to keeping forests as forests so that a wide range of functions are maintained for the long term.

 

Phil said that the concept of forest sustainability has been around a very long time. It may not be appropriate for certain uses, but we should not ignore those concepts established in the Principles of Sustainability by the Northern Forest Lands Council.

 

Emily and Will G. noted that the definition of sustainability from the first edition glossary was very good.

 

Geoff explained that his objection to the term is that it is often used too casually.

 

Karen said she will be careful to avoid over use of the term in the document.

 

Returning to the Getting Started section discussion, First Steps in Forest Management will be a quick list and not the same format as all the other chapters.

 

Emily agreed that the safety discussion belonged elsewhere. It is a forest operations piece.

 

Karen pointed out that the safety section is addressed to more of a landowner audience not a logger audience. It is basic stuff for people to think about before they are working in the woods. 

 

Will S. asked why safety should be discussed at all in Good Forestry.

 

Brad added that safety is not a section required by the statue. It is difficult to figure where it belongs in the document.

 

Karen asked whether any of the key components should be included in First Steps. Dave stressed that a new landowner should be aware of some basic safety concepts.

 

Mark does not think it belongs up front. Perhaps it fits better with the harvesting discussion, since it is about working in the woods. He also said the text could be shorter. We should be recommending that people take a chainsaw class rather than giving recommendations on chainsaw operation.

 

Bill noted that some comments suggested a cutting your own firewood section. The safety section may fit best there. He asked whether liability is discussed in the safety section. Yes, it is.

 

Phil said it may belong in the harvesting system section. It makes people aware that there are safety issues. Karen pointed out that it is about personal safety.

 

Chris Mattrick returned to the discussion about the order of the chapters. He said the soils section should not be in the front of the book. Silviculture should be first.

 

Will S. said we often do not understand what is going on underneath the trees that are growing on a site. Karen said but the soils chapter does discuss soils and tree growth. The silviculture chapter does discuss that.

 

Emily added that moving silviculture to the front of the book addresses the comment that this is not a forest management document. Karen reminded the group that NH forest type information will also be included in the silviculture section.

 

Susan agreed with Emily. She encouraged the group to think about how a forester approaches talking with a landowner about their objectives. That may inform the order of the chapters.

 

Geoff said if the soils section does not address soils and tree growth perhaps it should.

 

Karen noted that this is addressed in the silviculture section. Geoff offered that the introduction to the soils chapter should link the concept to silviculture.

 

Chris Mattrick asked whether the landscape level and stand level discussions in the habitat section have a lot of silviculture concepts in them. Should these discussions be part of the silviculture section? They are written from a habitat perspective but they are silvicultural concepts.

 

Emily agreed that the landscape and stand level discussion were confusing. Should we address tree level considerations as well?

 

Karen noted that the way we qualified the habitat sections did not resonate with people. There were several comments about those discussions.

 

Will G. suggested making the unique and fragile areas their own section. There would also be a habitats section and a silviculture section. Will also suggested that unique and fragile could also include a discussion on cultural resources.

 

Karen suggested moving the discussion about wildife species of greatest conservation needs to wildlife section.

 

Bill said we should explain in the silviculture section that it is the means we use to deal with almost every objective in the woods. Mariko added that in the past silviculture has meant a discussion of tree quality and growth, but there are a number of other applications as well, such as recreation and forest health. 

 

Emily asked what we should call the silviculture chapter. Timber Quality and Flow is not accurate.

 

Phil asked whether wildlife habitat management is a subset of silviculture. The group agreed that habitat management should be separate.

 

Karen noted that there is a paragraph that defines silviculture. Will S. asked that it be stated that silviculture is the best most effective, economical way to do wildlife management on the landscape.

 

Mark asked whether dead and down woody material should be included in silviculture. Chris said dead and down material serves many functions. It is a forest health issue and a regeneration issue as well as a habitat issue.

 

Will G. said that to the average landowner, dead and downed material is important to wildlife habitat. Will S. said that is fine as long as it is appropriately cross referenced.

 

Karen said she would leave it in the habitat section.

 

Brad recalled the group to the discussion about combining the stand level and landscape level considerations within the habitat section.

 

Karen summarized that unique and fragile areas would stay a separate section. Species of greatest conservation need would be moved to the habitat section, and cultural resources would be moved to unique and fragile. 

 

Brad noted that the steep slopes is referenced in the statue, but there is not anything about managing on steep slopes in the book.

 

Mark asked if we need to have a separate section on everything in the statue. The language in the statue says “and other unique natural features such as … steep slopes, deer wintering areas…”

 

Brad said the document should at least discuss steep slopes, even if there is not a dedicated section. Bill suggested the discussion go into the harvesting section. 

 

Geoff said the steep slopes discussion should be prominently featured. Keene is either dealing with a potential ordinance now or has passed a restrictive ordinance about harvesting on steep slopes. 

 

Will G. said one or two pages could address management on steep slopes.

 

Phil noted that the issues with management on steep slopes are aesthetics and erosion. Shouldn’t that go into the soils chapter?  Bill said it should be discussed in the context of harvesting damage.

 

Geoff said wherever it is, it should be complete in one section and have high visibility.

 

Jasen said if harvesting on steep slopes is an aesthetics issues we have a chapter on that. If it is a residual stand damage issue, it belongs in harvesting. We could include information in a couple of sentences in the aesthetics chapter and also in the context of soil erosion. We do not need a specific chapter on steep slopes. 

 

Brad agreed that we may not need a chapter, but said steep slopes should be addressed.

 

Jasen asked if we can simply list steep slopes in an index. 

 

Geoff said ideally we have a one-page fact sheet in this document that we show to a town and say this is what we recommended.

 

Bob said steep slopes are not necessarily a “unique” area. Perhaps the section could be called “unique OR fragile”. Susan suggested “sensitive” areas.

 

Will G., Geoff, and Brad will work together on developing a discussion on steep slopes.

 

Chris said he does not like “sensitive” as a section title. Wetlands are sensitive, too. Karen said wetlands are discussed in water resources.

 

Chris asked if forest management in riparian areas should be in silviculture. The group said no.

 

Karen asked the group to consider what will follow the silviculture section.

 

Silviculture will include forest types and a better statement about using silviculture to achieve a myriad of things. It is often the most economical and effective tool to achieve wildlife management goals. Landscape and stand level considerations will stay in the wildlife section. They are written in a wildlife perspective.

 

Emily said wildlife should follow silviculture, because wildlife objectives are often achieved through silviculture. After these two sections, harvesting systems and aesthetics, would follow. She felt unsure about the placement of forest health and non-timber sections.

 

Phil asked where we want to put the emphasis. Comments suggest putting traditional forestry stuff up front. Will S. agreed. Landowners who are considering a timber sale should proceed to harvesting systems next.

 

Karen asked if we are talking about the aesthetics and soils as well. Mark felt we should include aesthetics with harvesting systems. The harvesting section would include choosing a harvesting system, aesthetics and safety.

 

Karen asked about aesthestics. There seems to be too much information. How can we combine sections.  Cultural resources would be separated out.

 

Emily asked whether truck roads, skid trails and long landings could be combined. Will G. thought they could be condensed.

 

Chris asked if there are other resource concerns that should be included here, such as water and erosion.

 

Karen said the chapter is very focused on aesthetics.

 

Phil noted there are 14 considerations and 5 recommendations. He felt that the slash disposal discussion was misleading. He urged caution because aesthetics is a huge issue for landowners.

 

Susan said this is an example of where a picture can go a long way. We had several comments asking for picture. Geoff noted that there are publications that have illustrations.

 

Mariko noted that this chapter must pay attention to tone. Regarding the aesthetics of clearcutting, hiding clearcuts on visible slopes, steep or otherwise, will mean a “browning hillside”. The long term consequences of hiding clearcuts is changing species and a loss of fall color. We are training our audience about what to expect. We do not want to present a negative tone about clearcutting. It is really important in this context.

 

Jasen said his constituents read the document as encouraging harvesting only in the winter.

 

To reiterate, these topics will be discussed under harvesting: logging aesthetics, timing of forest management, slash, and aesthetics of clearcutting. Mark added truck roads and skid trails to the list. 

 

Phil advised looking at all the considerations without chapter titles see where there is overlap and edit accordingly.

 

Under harvesting there will be two sections from an aesthetics perspective:  aesthetics of cutting trees and the aesthetics of infrastructure (roads, trails and landings).

 

Karen asked what section will follow harvesting.

 

Bill noted that soils should go under harvesting as well. Soils and nutrient depletion are currently overemphasized in the document.

 

Karen noted that Dave Publicover commented that we should include some wording about biomass and whole tree harvesting. Bill responded that he thought Dave had asked about depletion. Skid road layout is very important to minimize erosion, but nutrient depletion is not an issue according to a Hubbard Brook study.

 

Will G. asked if there are other studies with similar findings. He also felt that soils should remain a separate section and state that there is little evidence of nutrient depletion on whole tree harvesting sites.

 

Bill added that the true concern is root damage due to heavy soil disturbance which allow infections to enter the tree.

 

Phil asked whether root damage is clearly addressed in the document. Chris said Kyle Lombard had dealt with it in Forest Health.

 

Soils would be addressed in two contexts: erosion and nutrients.

 

Mark said he still believes soils should be in a separate chapter. The soil nutrients discussion could be toned down. It is an opportunity to speak to the many comments that the tone of the document is negative. We can say that research shows that soils are not being depleted.

 

Karen said the soils chapter is really about erosion from harvesting activities. We would have to totally rewrite the chapter for it to really be about soils. This section needs to be in harvesting.

 

Susan said we must steer people to Kyle’s discussion about soil compaction and root damage. It is currently not clearly connected.

 

Phil noted that some of the most important points in the book are buried. Given what we did with soils, are we going to do that with water resources? Brad agreed and asked about the habitat section.

 

Emily said that landowners do not have to consider wildlife objectives but do have to consider water resources. The water quality section sets up the rest of the water chapters and should not be separated from them. 

 

Mark asked about the suggestion to combine wetlands and riparian management. Should these two topics be combined?

 

Karen noted that Dave Publicover suggested that all buffer discussions should refer to the riparian chapter. The buffers in wetlands section do not agreed with those in the riparian chapter.

 

Emily said that if we do refer all buffer discussions to the riparian chapter, we need to put another row in the riparian area table for wetlands that are not in the riparian management zones. 

 

Mark said this would be tricky. The riparian section deals with non-forested wetlands that are contiguous with water bodies. It does not address any other wetlands. If you merge the two sections it will be lengthy. 

 

It is important to make sure the chapters do not contradict each other.

 

Karen asked whether there is value to putting wetland recommendations in the same table as RMZs.

 

Mark asked what kind of wetlands we would add to the table.

 

Linda replied that there are many types of wetlands, and there are not recommended buffer widths for all of them. Karen said there are numbers included in the text, however. Karen suggested that she would pull the numbers from the text into the RMZ table and ask the committee to review it.

 

The committee decided to keep the wetlands chapter separate from the riparian management chapter, but combine recommended buffer information in the table.

 

Bill said he is still not comfortable with the stream crossings section. It does not seem to be connected to harvesting operations. Chris and Will S. agreed. Bill noted that skid roads are addressed in the harvesting section but stream crossings are in another section.

 

Karen pointed out that the stream crossing chapter is mostly about stream habitat and water resources.

 

Mark noted that nearly every chapter could be included in the harvesting section because the book is about forestry and forest management. There is some arbitrariness to dividing the book into chapters. The stream crossings section is about stream habitat and goes better with the water chapters.

 

Bill asked how we would address the comments about how to physically cross the stream. Karen said there is more information about this in the BMP manual.

 

Emily said the J.B. Cullen book, which is included in the appendix of the first edition is mostly about erosion control. It does not really address stream crossings per se. 

 

Dick asked whether a BMP manual will be included in the index.

 

Brad responded that the two BMP manuals (Cullen and Smith) are confusing. DES is updating their standards and the BMP manuals will need be revised. Good Forestry should simply refer the most current BMP manual as published by the state.

 

Chris noted that the recommendations in stream crossings are about harvesting practices.

 

Emily said it is heavily cross-referenced. Streams are water and people will look in the water section.

 

Mark suggested changing title to stream crossings and habitat.

 

Karen asked what section should follow the water section. 

 

The group decided that wildlife habitat should follow the water section.

 

Karen asked whether there could be any combinations or deletions in the wildlife habitat chapter.

 

Emily noted that the wildlife section is the combination of landscape level and stand level considerations. She wondered whether the sections on woodland raptors, heron colonies and bald eagles could be combined. Chris suggested that we not combine them, but lump them together.

Brad noted that every time we identify a new section, we have to write new issues, objectives, etc. He wondered whether we can capture general broad issues and objective statements and give individual considerations and recommendations about each of these areas.

 

Mariko cautioned that winter roosting is not about nesting behaviors. Heron colonies and raptor nests are seasonally and spatially unique. She suggested leaving these areas separate. 

 

Phil agreed the bird sections should be kept separate as the background information for each area is very different. In some cases, a major issues statement can be generalized and specific recommendations can then be made on specific issues.

 

Geoff said we should avoid homogenizing the book too much. There should be a harvesting theme in every chapter, because the book is about harvesting.

 

Chris said there is a split between species-specific sections and more general habitat sections. Emily thought general habitat sections should come first, followed by species specific sections. She also suggested removing the stand level considerations section title and moving overstory inclusions into the mast section.

 

Bill said landscape level and stand level perspectives on habitat are quite different. If we make these changes, will we lose this perspective?  Karen said the difference was not expressed clearly. The comments indicated that the organization of the habitat section was confusing. 

 

Mariko said all of the chapters are about habitat.

 

Chris said that landscape level and stand level issues in the wildlife chapters should be handled under the appropriate wildlife chapter. He also noted that high elevation forests and pine barrens (currently in the unique and fragile areas section) are habitats too.

 

Phil likes the separation of species and habitat. That is what is logical and how people think.

 

Will S. said that if we leave landscape and stand level considerations, we need to discuss these concepts better.

 

Emily said she was concerned about removing habitats from the unique and fragile areas and including them in with habitats that are widely distributed.

 

She did think that chapters on specific species could be grouped at the end of the section.

 

Susan agreed that the landscape level perspective is important, but it does not resonate with most landowners.

 

Mariko noted that when the Forest Service trains foresters, they work with the notion of competition, balancing of age classes, looking beyond property boundaries to consider what your neighbor is doing. This is essentially the concept of landscape planning.

 

Karen said this notion needs to be included in Your Land and the Larger Landscape and is important for managing for wildlife.

 

Emily pointed out that the water quality section has an introduction. Why not do a two page introduction to the wildlife habitat section and introduce the big concepts there. It can be simple – an introduction with some considerations.

 

Mark suggested that the habitat chapter have two sub-sections. One piece is wildlife habitat management, and one is sensitive areas. The introduction sets the stage. No need to differentiate between habitat and species. He suggested clustering the habitat management section.

 

Chris noted that structurally this would be different from the rest of the book. Will S. asked whether that makes Good Forestry a “how to” habitat manual.

 

Phil asked if some recommendations and considerations can be combined into general ones. Emily acknowledged that there are some commonalities but for the most part they are different. The best generalization is, if a landowner is managing for habitat look at the stand map and wetland locations first. 

 

Karen thought the approach would be too complicated. She said she would try Emily’s suggestion and ask for feedback.

 

The decision was to have a wildlife chapter with a two-page introductory section. Individual species discussions will not be broken out. Sensitive areas will be handled next.

 

Mark asked if the discussions on permanent and temporary openings could be combined.

 

Brad asked if those sections could be combined with a discussion on early successional habitat. Karen likes the temporary opening section because it speaks to the need to cut trees. It expresses the value of harvesting. Forest management creates a moving mosaic over the landscape.

 

Mark reminded the group that they had decided not to specifically address early successional habitat.

 

Will S. noted that early successional habitat helps differentiate between permanent and temporary management of openings.

 

Dave described his involvement in the woodcock initiative. Woodcock and grouse need early successional habitat. There is a need to harvest and clearcuts provide that habitat. 

 

Phil said we need to differentiate between permanent and temporary openings. Will S. agreed. 

 

Karen noted that shortening sections does not necessarily mean lumping existing sections together.

 

Emily said that better organization will change people’s perception about the overall length of the document.

 

Brad said that even with better organization, length will be a concern. The draft does not have illustrations in it yet, either.

 

After sensitive areas, the next section will be forest health. The discussion about controlling logging damage will be left in forest health.

 

Phil asked whether controlling logging damage should be first in the chapter.

 

Chris said he saw comments asking that insects and diseases be first. Susan wondered if controlling logging damage wouldn’t fit better in the harvesting section. Karen will look into that and make a recommendation.

 

Non-timber forest products will follow the forest health section.

 

Karen noted that several comments questioned whether the topic belonged in the manual at all.

 

Will G. asked why Christmas trees were not included. Susan said Christmas trees are considered an agricultural product.

 

Karen said we decided not to include Christmas trees and Christmas tree plantations as they are agricultural not traditional forestry. 

 

Geoff felt that we are missing an opportunity to promote integrated management and set a standard for landowners to follow.

 

Phil wondered if landowners will be looking for a section on Christmas trees. Karen asked if we could simply make a reference to Christmas tree production in the non-timber forest products section.

 

Chris said it is really a decision about whether Christmas tree management is forestry or agriculture. Phil noted that maple sugar production is also considered an agricultural product. If we do not include Christmas trees should we include maple sugar?

 

Karen said maple sugaring is a traditional forest use. There is only one planted sugarbush in NH, while there are no natural Christmas tree plantations.

 

The group decided to add some information about Christmas trees to the non-traditional forest products chapter, but not to create its own chapter.

 

Geoff said the carbon discussion needs improvement. It does not clearly connect carbon to the interests of the average landowner.

 

Karen said the carbon discussion reflects what the committee decided, which was to change entirely the originally presented discussion about carbon markets, written by Linda Heath. Susan noted that the discussion is very general because information is changing so quickly.

 

Mark noted that NHTOA comments asked to eliminate the section or greatly reduce it.

 

Susan asked the group how to address carbon with so many factors in flux. Linda Heath had said landowners practicing good forestry will be best prepared to take advantage of carbon opportunities down the road.

 

Emily referred to Manomet’s work on carbon. She suggested framing the discussion as new areas that are coming online: an emerging market opportunity. Phil said that landowners need to understand that there may be other opportunities for income besides timber management. 

 

References to the Chesapeake Bay fund and other mitigation banks should be eliminated from the text. 

 

Chris said the carbon section belonged in the front of the book or at least in the front of the non-timber section.

 

Geoff said if nothing else we should highlight that carbon markets are another opportunity that remains open to landowners if they keep their forest as forest.  It should refer to estate planning and conservation easements.

 

Chris added that the statement must not give the impression that we mean landowners shouldn’t manage their forest while carbon markets are developing.

 

Mariko said we want to promote a working forest concept. 

 

Mark cautioned about promoting easements too strongly and eliminating some of the audience immediately. This is a voluntary manual and having an inclusive tone is important. 

 

Phil asked whether cost-share programming is discussed. Karen said it is addressed in the planning section.

 

Geoff noted that there are other ecosystem services that forests provide that emerging markets do not put a dollar value on.

 

Phil said those ecosystem services are a different discussion than non-timber forest products, which discuss products

 

Karen again said the chapter was written and edited according to steering committee recommendations.

 

Mark said the section is still too long. The bar for adding material should be very high. The section is not core to enough people in NH to make a difference.

 

Emily thought the non-timber section can mention a little bit of everything. It could be limited to two pages that address products other than timber that landowners may want to consider. It is a value-added piece for landowners and not too much extra information for foresters.

 

Karen suggested putting the non-timber discussion under management planning.

 

Will S. encouraged a reference to work done at UVM.

 

Regarding ecosystem services, someone suggested broadening the discussion in the introduction section. An emerging markets section is okay. Geoff will suggest additional references.

 

Karen then asked the group to speak about their impressions of the comments. She asked what comments really resonated with them.

 

Mark said there were some recommendations that were identified as completely impractical. He suggested taking another look at those. If they are truly impractical then eliminate them.

 

We should also pay attention to the balance of specific how-to recommendations vs. broad recommendations. Are we trying to define how to do everything? The space between broad guidance and detailed recommendations can be very confining. 

 

Brad noted that this gets back to the audience issue. Foresters often make the how-to decisions based on their experience. 

 

Brad noted that he is very concerned about the comments regarding tone.

 

Chris was also concerned about the comments that it is too long and too technical, although he does not think it is too technical.

 

He cautioned the group about impractical recommendation. He said that recommendations that may not be common practice now may not be impractical. Power washing equipment between jobs, for example, is not commonly done now, but may be adopted at some level in the future.

 

Linda voiced her concern about audience. The document does not speak to the typical landowner. She said, though, Dave is very, very knowledgeable and engaged in his woodlot. He is likely not representative the typical landowner. We should keep that in mind.

 

Dave wanted to give his thoughts on the use of the document in conservation easements and town ordinances. He said that try as we might, towns will do what they want with the document. He feels it is better that a town uses GFGS as a reference for an ordinance than proposing an ordinance with no basis whatsoever. He suggested getting an attorney at the Attorney General’s office to suggest wording that may prevent citing GFGS as a reference in ordinances. However, we cannot stop a town. He would like to see an example of a town that has taken something from GF and made an ordinance of it.

 

Brad will follow up with the Attorney General’s office.

 

Susan said she was struck by the reactions to the vernal pool chapter, particularly the buffer suggestions.

 

Bill agreed, saying that the buffers were impractical. He felt there were similar impractical recommendation in seeps and old growth discussions. Mariko agreed.

 

Geoff said he wants to improve the flow and readability of the document by eliminating redundancies and uniting appropriate sections.

 

Bob voiced concern about the many comment about audience. He thought focusing on landowners would have been a better approach. The book should get the landowner motivated to contact a professional and let the forester take it from there.

 

Dick said he was concerned about the length of the document only if it means too much cost. Can we afford to print it? If so, we should do it and not worry about length. 

 

Will S. said he wanted to see how the book would look after reorganization and editing.

 

Emily said that the vernal pools chapter is too technical and could be written in a more accessible voice. People interested in that chapter have vernal pools as the absolute top management priority. It has to be different from the first edition because that is no longer technically valid. If we are presenting actual numbers, we need to think about what the numbers mean and whether we are being clear about what we are recommending.

 

Karen pointed out that the silviculture and harvesting sections are entirely new to the revised Good Forestry, and the document would have to be longer than the first edition. 

 

Will G. cautioned against rushing to put out a second draft.

 

Kristina agreed that taking time to consider comments, edit and present a solid second draft would be most important to the credibility of the process. She noted that about 150 people commented on the draft document.

 

Karen reviewed the next steps.

 

The committee would meet again on Friday, January 22, 2010. She had hoped to have a second draft of the document for the February GSD SAF meeting. She has 45 minutes on the agenda. She said she was not certain a second draft could be ready for the SAF meeting. She would need to decide how to best use the time on the agenda.

 

Phil urged the group to continue moving forward and setting a goal for the second draft. We have funders and not an unlimited amount of time to deliver the book. 

 

Brad said that Northeast Utilities, the project funder, understands the importance of getting the revision right.

 

Mariko asked if there are plans to address publicly what we are planning to change as a result of the public comment period.

 

Karen said she was planning a follow-up communication with commentors. The message would be simple, such as “Thank you very much. We are giving comments the consideration they deserve. There will be a next draft for public review.”

 

Emily wondered if we should address the “not enough forestry” issue in the response. Mariko added that we could state the committee’s intent to encourage, promote and maintain forestry practices in the state.

 

Will S. supported a general response. Phil agreed and added that one-on-one discussions can be more specific.

 

Susan urged the group to think about how to get more landowners to review the second draft. She would like to see more landowner comments.

 

Phil views this as a document for foresters. Bob agreed that the revision is more slanted toward practitioners. The first edition is more landowner focused. 

 

Karen noted that the landowners that commented seemed to understand more than foresters thought they did. The book was never intended for brand new landowners.

 

The meeting adjourned at 1 p.m.

 

The next steering committee meeting will be Friday, January 22, 2010 from 9:00 am to 2:30 pm at the Conservation Center in Concord, NH.

 

Notes submitted by Kristina Ferrare.

 

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