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January 22, 2009 Minutes

Page history last edited by Kristina Ferrare 12 years, 8 months ago

 

Good Forestry in the Granite State

Steering Committee Meeting

January 22, 2009 9am – 12pm

Conservation Center, Concord, NH

Present: Will Abbott, Forest Society, Karen Bennett, UNH Cooperative Extension, Bob Bradbury, Landvest, Emily Brunkhurst, NH Fish and Game, Phil Bryce, Fountains America, Susan Cox, USFS State and Private Forestry, Ken Desmaris, NH Division of Forests and Lands, Geoff Jones, Forest Society, Don Kent, NH Natural Heritage Bureau, Bill Leak, USFS Northeastern Research Station, Rick Lessard, NH Timber Harvesting Council, Linda Magoon, NH DES, Matt Tarr, UNH Cooperative Extension, Dave Tellman, NH Tree Farmer, Dick Weyrick, Granite State Division SAF, Mariko Yamasaki, USFS Northeastern Research Station

 

Review Minutes December 08

 

 

Phil called the meeting to order at 9:05. Each member introduced themselves.

 

Dave Tellman moved to accept the minutes from the December 18, 2008 meeting. The motion was seconded.

 

The December 2008 minutes passed with no amendments.

 

 

Review Draft Chapters

 

 

Karen presented her flow chart of the editorial flow process. She explained that the visual was meant to show where we are in the revision process, and what the possibilities are at each decision point.

 

Most technical teams are currently rewriting, revising, and editing their respective topic areas. Karen reminded all that revising may be what is in order, rather than rewriting. When presented to the steering committee, the group reviews and comments on the draft, and it is returned to the technical team for further revision. The draft then can go back to the steering committee for additional review and comment or go to the project manager for a “final” draft. The “final” draft constitutes a clean up process by Karen, who prepares the file to go for editing. (We probably need a better description than “final” draft). The editor will edit the entire document for style and consistency. The steering committee will have the opportunity to review the entire document, before it goes to print. This was referred to as a “red flag review” to identify any problems with the final documents. The document will also be prepared for web posting. This includes developing policies and protocols for maintaining the document on the web, as well as adding live links and appropriate illustrations. Finally, hard copies will be printed, promoted and distributed.

  

Karen also reminded the group that the chapters and topic areas, in various stages of revision, remain accessible on the web during the entire process for comment – no need to wait until the red flag review.

 

 

Karen reminded that group that, at the conclusion of each steering committee review, we need to decide if the further revised work will come back to the group or go directly to Karen.

 

 

Phil reminded group to focus on content not editing – an editor will work on those details.

 

 

Karen noted that the final public listening sessions are not on the flow chart, but there will be a final opportunity for the public to review and comment on the revised document.

 

 

Phil said we’ll review the editorial flow chart at every steering committee meeting to keep the group on track.

 

 

The group then began its review of draft chapters.

 

 

High Elevation Forests (HEF)

 

 

Don introduced the draft of high elevation forests. Don expanded on the first edition topic. There are additional considerations and recommended practices to reflect the increased understanding we have gained about these ecosystems.

 

 

Karen asked about the forest types named in the Issues. She asked if the list was inclusive, and Don said yes it was.

 

 

Emily suggested that the sentence in Issues, “Soil compaction significantly reduces the ability of the soil to absorb moisture and hinders regeneration” should be addressed in Considerations and Recommended Practices with respect to road layout and harvest planning.

 

 

Will Staats stated that he had sent his comments directly to Don in an email.

 

 

Karen asked about Consideration one. Will Staats said this information may need to be updated as the land previously covered by the MOUs is now under conservation easement.

 

 

Don would like to read the agreements.

 

 

Will Abbott asked if anyone has the old MOUs map. Phil said the state may have it. Phil suggested looking to that record first. Will Abbott said the bullet should be updated with the acres originally protected through MOUs and how many acres are in conservation easements today.

 

 

Returning to the soil compaction discussion, Ken referred to Recommended Practice six, which states that cut-to-length systems is the preferred harvesting system. Ken said that this may or may not be the preferred approach on HEFs. Ken suggested Don speak with Kyle Lombard, DFL.

 

 

Will Staats suggested rewording the bullet to focus on the site sensitivity and not the equipment.

Focusing on the equipment may be more appropriate in the discussion, for example, on protecting regeneration.

 

 

Bob Bradbury asked about clarifying the third bullet under considerations. Does wildlife belong to the landowner? Emily said wildlife belongs to the state and plants belong to the landowner. This will also be stated in the rare wildlife section. Phil said we need to clearly differentiate between the different levels of protection of flora and fauna.

 

 

Geoff suggested a Recommended Practice of doing nothing, that is leave HEF as an eco-reserve. The group agreed to adding this recommendation.

 

 

Dave Tellman referred to the Recommended Practice of installing gates and barriers. Recreational vehicles are a real problem. He suggested being clearer with the language about why installing gates and barriers is important, such as “to discourage the use of the roads by recreational vehicles.” Will Staats agreed with Dave, saying once the road is in; it is hard to keep people out.

 

 

Karen suggested “to discourage overuse” of recreational vehicles. Emily said any use is overuse in HEFs.

 

 

Someone suggested adding avoiding roads when possible and gating others. Will Staats said you could close out the roads after the harvest as there will not be harvesting again for approximately 80 yrs. It is also less expensive to close out a road, rather than maintain it.

 

 

Phil said that we should emphasize proper road closing.

 

 

Karen asked if the second bullet under Consideration is still valid. Will Staats said it is.

 

 

Karen also asked about a bullet in the First Edition recommending planning a harvest in the winter. Will Staats said that winter harvest is still preferred and that the bullet should go back into Recommended Practices.

 

 

Matt asked about acid deposition as the main threat to these systems. He said the infrastructure of wind power is a threat now. Perhaps this should be mentioned? There are other things besides acid rain that may threaten the HEF ecosystem. If wind power becomes more widely used in NH, the remaining HEFs are all that more important to the state.

 

 

Geoff said that wind power impacts high elevation differently than development. These are ridge top ecosystems. Karen asked if other communication towers should be included in the group? The consensus was that any man made disturbances other than forestry activities are a threat to the HEF ecosystem.

 

 

The HEF chapter will be revised and posted on the web. Will Abbott suggested that draft be posted on the web and the steering committee notified. Members will then have 10 days to review it and ask Karen to put it on the agenda for the next meeting. Otherwise, after 10 days the chapter goes to Karen to prepare it for editing. The group agreed to this process.

 

 

Water Quality

 

 

Emily Brunkhurst reminded the group that this was the second review of the Water Quality section. The technical team had considered and addressed the comments made at the first review. Emily also stressed that this section would act as the introductory section to the Water Resources chapter. She asked what might still be missing.

 

 

Bill Leak asked to tighten up the language in the fourth Consideration reading, “Removing a significant proportion of forest cover of any watershed can increase stream flow …” He suggested following up on the current research at Hubbard Brook to find out about a more specific number.

 

 

Karen asked about bullet one under Recommended Practices. Referring to the sentence, “Avoid clearcutting of the entire headwater stream” Karen asked if this was worded correctly as you are not cutting the stream you are cutting the watershed. Emily said the statement is supposed to reference the riparian chapter where buffers will be discussed.

 

 

Phil asked if the intention was not to clearcut outside the buffer either. How should larger landowners determine what they harvest in a particular watershed at whatever scale the watershed is? Mariko also voiced concern over the sentence, saying that it needed greater clarification. The committee agreed to red flag the sentence and return to it when the riparian section is written.

 

 

In the same Recommended Practice bullet, it was noted that a parenthetical description of “partial” harvest should be added to include thinnings, selection and group selection as there was a parenthetical description of multi-staged harvesting.

 

 

Don asked if each chapter in Good Forestry was meant to be a stand alone. Is it reasonable to expect people to skip around to references in other chapters.  Karen said we should not assume people will refer to cross section on their own. We should explicitly refer to other sections. Don said some Recommended Practices should appear in several areas. Emily agreed that that may be appropriate.

 

 

Matt said duplication a bullet or two is fine. Will Abbott our biggest concern should be avoiding conflicting recommendations.

 

 

Bill Leak asked if the subject of intermittent streams will be addressed. Emily said yes, in the streams and stream crossings topic area.

 

 

Dick asked about the incomplete citation for UNHCE Guide to Timber Harvesting Laws. Karen said UNHCE can provide that citation.

 

 

Matt asked if this water quality needs to stand on its own. Emily said this is a place to explain why we care about any of these water systems. It is an introduction to the entire water resources section. Phil suggested making a more direct connection between the Recommended Practices in the water resources section and other water quality sections.

 

 

Will Abbott suggested that all the Water Resources sections should be read together when they are completed. The committee can then see how the sections fit together.

 

 

Emily suggested tabling further discussion on this section until drafts of the other sections are completed. The steering committee agreed.

 

 

Forest Health

 

 

Susan Cox introduced the forest health section. There are three topic areas in this section: invasive plants, forests insects and diseases and other damage including wind, ice and soil compaction.

 

 

Susan asked the group if the state list of regulated plants should be in the text or in the appendix. The group agreed on the appendix.

 

 

Emily referred to the last bullet under Issues, which reads “decrease the quality and quantity of forests”. She asked how invasives do this. That statement needs explanation.

 

 

Karen said the negative impact on wildlife was not mentioned. She also asked about whether it was stated that invasive plants interfere with regeneration. Susan said bullet five states loss of habitat quality and regeneration ability. This bullet will be separated into separate bullets.

 

 

Bill Leak said invasives are associated with browsing pressure. This should be addressed. There is literature on this topic. Tom Rawinski at the Forest Service field office in Durham studies this topic.

 

 

Mariko said this connection needs to be made. Better communication with landowners impacted by browsing pressure and the authorities can help by creating solutions to the problem, such as focusing the deer harvest on particular areas of need.

 

 

Phil said we could state that if you post your land, overbrowsing may be one of the ramifications. Matt said that the recommendation could be to keep land open to hunting. We need to recognize browsing pressure as an issue.

 

 

Don will send the official state definition of invasive plants to Susan.

 

 

Mariko referred to the third and fifth bullet under considerations. The group agreed that it was too broad a statement to say using local loggers will prevent the introduction of invasive plants to an area. Regarding bullet five, it may be too broad a statement to say that maintaining a closed canopy may discourage invasive species spread and establishment. It really depends on the species. Bill agreed.

 

 

Emily suggested making a stronger statement about equipment being a vector of invasive species. The statement about using local loggers should be revised.

 

 

Will Staats said logging roads can also be a vector of invasives. Phil added that road construction activities are also important to add to considerations. Road construction activities are addressed in Recommended Practices.

 

 

Karen asked about cleaning equipment. Rick said some loggers do power wash on site, but most do not. Ken asked if it is reasonable to ask logger to power wash between jobs. Rick said it would be difficult. Will Staats asked whether power washing on site was a good idea. It would also wash hydraulic fluid and diesel fuel the site.

Karen suggested we carefully consider cleaning equipment because the state law says it is illegal to transport invasives. If the law is interpreted strictly, it could affect loggers.

 

 

Matt offered that there are so many sources of this material in the state, equipment may be a minimal source. It is important, however, to make people aware of it as an issue.

 

 

Emily proposed recommending that the machines be cleaned between sites. The logger can decide when this would be done.

 

 

Geoff stressed that we should not underestimate equipment as being the source of the problem. Instead of pressure washing, he uses hand broom and air compressor on his equipment.  That may be more reasonable. It is important that loggers make some effort to clean off equipment.

 

 

Matt asked if we should recommend cleaning off mowing equipment. That seems like a very important point. Susan said stressing control of invasives on the property before the operation may alleviate pressure.

 

 

Geoff said that stressing winter operation may be a good idea as well.

 

 

Rick said compressed air will work in dry conditions. He said it is a lot to ask operators to power wash between jobs. Karen said we should be practical and stress that it is important to clean if you are operating on a lot with invasives. Awareness is important.

 

 

Karen said she was surprised that it is recommended that the power wash happens on site. She asked to revise that.

 

 

Additionally, the group agrees to strike bullets three and five (local loggers and retaining closed canopy forests) from Considerations.

 

 

Forest Insects and Diseases

 

 

Susan explained that the forest insects and diseases topic area is very different from the First Edition. The revised version focuses on the damage rather than the specific insect.

Susan added that the section addressed concerns in NH, but perhaps we should address some of the problems in neighboring states, so people know about regional threats. Also, we should emphasize the annual Forest Health Highlights web site so people can keep current on what is in focus in the state.

 

 

Dave Tellman suggested that insects and diseases should be first in the chapter, then invasive plants. We agreed to make this change.

 

 

Will Staats asked if we need a key to symptoms? Karen said that is beyond the scope of the book. People need to ID the insect and diseases elsewhere.

 

 

Matt asked if we could recommend a key or web site for folks. Susan said that Forest Heath Highlights website has pictures. Karen said the first Recommended Practice should be to properly ID the insect and how to do this. We can provide references.

 

 

Mariko references the spruce budworm work done by Hugh Crawford. Maintaining a diverse avian community will limit losses. If you have good habitat, birds can keep defoliators in check. There is a strong link to increased reproductive success in avian communities when there is a bug outbreak. Reproductive success is minimal otherwise. This is especially true for neotropical migrants and avian predators.

 

 

Emily pointed out that diverse forest habitat is not mentioned in the Considerations. Mariko suggesting pulling in the idea that diverse forest includes diverse avian predators.

 

 

Phil said we need to make a distinction between normal forest ecology processes (bugs and decay) and epidemic problems.

 

 

Karen stated that it overstates the importance of the threat of bark beetles and wood borers in this state.

 

 

Emily said we should have a statement that says a diverse, well-managed forest is less likely to suffer extreme damage from bugs.

 

 

Referring to defoliators, Karen asked about the phrase “large contiguous blocks”. That seems like a landscape level term. She was concerned that a small landowner many think that 5 acres of pine is too large a block and would be susceptible to defoliators. She suggested putting some scale on this.

 

 

Under piercing-sucking insects, Emily commented on bullet five. Imidacloprid is a broad spectrum pesticide. It kills a lot of other insects, including beneficial ones, and suggests we state that actions taken to control an insect can affect other things. Susan suggested that instead of naming a pesticide, we could refer readers to other references for more information. The group agreed.

 

 

Phil pointed out that pesticides effect other things. We should explain that there are repercussions to some of these practices.

 

 

Bill suggested that beech bark disease be moved from piercing-sucking to stem canker diseases.

Karen suggested that the recommendations from the first edition about beech bark disease should be put back into the revised document.

 

 

Bill also added that, although winter operations may be advisable for some forest health considerations, silvicultural prescriptions may require scarification of the soil.

 

 

Karen also noted that the spruce budworm recommendations from the first edition had also been removed. She recommended they be put back into the revised draft.

 

Karen was concerned about the wood borer section. Phil pointed out some wood borers are beneficial to the ecosystem. Insects and diseases play an important role in ecosystem function.

 

 

Bill agreed to look at the first edition recommendations in the Forest Health chapter and follow up with Susan.

 

 

This section will come back to the committee.

 

 

Safety

 

 

Dave Tellman introduced topic. He said this section is especially important for the new landowner. His goal was to keep this simple and brief.

 

 

Emily suggested adding a Consideration that not following safety practices will have economic consequences. She also suggested changing “chaps” to “chainsaw chaps” to avoid any confusion with leather riding chaps.

 

 

Susan suggested moving attending safety courses to the top of Recommended Practices.

 

 

Phil said we need to set the bar pretty high for safety recommendations because this document is recommended by the state. Recommendations in the GF document should be consistent with state recommendations and standards.

 

 

Karen suggested we add a statement about looking for and taking care of attractive nuisances. There should also be a note about limited liability so that people feel comfortable having visitors on their land.

 

 

Will Staats suggested the following attractive nuisances: raw roads, log piles, parked equipment, fuel containers.

 

 

Sarah Smith made some safety recommendations to Karen. Sarah suggested awareness of forest fire danger and always carrying a cell phone. Sarah offered to work with Dave on this chapter.

 

 

Phil pointed out that there is some crossover with recreation.

 

 

Don suggested including accident statistics in Considerations. He also suggested leaving an explicit and detailed note with as much information as possible, if you will be working in the woods alone. It is preferable to have a partner in the woods with you whenever possible.

 

 

Geoff suggested adding carrying a first aid kit. He also noted that a point should be made in the introduction that if you don’t think safe you won’t work safe. He also said putting gas cans on truck bed liners is dangerous.

 

 

Phil suggested that it is critical to be aware of the hazards around you in the woods. Think about potential hazards before you get into a dangerous situation.

 

 

Introduction

 

 

Geoff presented the introduction to the group. It explained why we need a forestry book and what makes this one different. He used language developed with Dave Anderson and tried to put it in an introductory format.

 

 

The introduction frames the concept of sustainability and rationale behind it. He included several quotes of thought provoking statements on sustainability.

 

 

The draft he submitted would replace the first edition introduction on page three. He did not propose changes to the rest of the first edition introductory sections.

 

 

Emily said it seemed too long and could be edited. She was unsure if the history of forestry would be necessary for this audience. Additionally, the quotes may not be necessary. She feared that if the intro is too long people might skip it.

 

 

There are several important points in the middle of second page that are important, and the discussion of tradeoffs and compromises are key elements of the book. They need to be highlighted better. She also asked that he change the term “form” to “habitat” or “structure” to avoid introducing another term in the document.

 

 

Phil asked the group what we want the introduction to accomplish in the context of the rest of the document. Karen would like it to be shorter and is also concerned people wouldn’t read it. The document is not distilling the information out like other sections.

 

 

Susan suggested that perhaps the history belongs elsewhere. Will Staats noted that the issue of sustainability is appropriate. We need to introduce and develop that idea.

 

 

Phil reminded the group that the document is not meant to solve the sustainability issue. It is meant to educate landowners on making good decisions by defining and achieving the objectives on their forests.

 

 

Geoff asked if this needs to be a section on sustainability. Phil suggested we consider the first edition chapter of “Your forest and the larger landscape”. Perhaps some of Geoff’s points fit best there. Principles of sustainability are important. They are at the beginning of the document, but consist of only one page in the First Edition.

 

 

Emily said she believed the purpose of the intro is to get people to use the book. What is the book about? Why use it? Why are the concepts important? There is a lot in Geoff’s draft that is perfect for that.

 

 

Geoff said a lot of his work is based on the SAF publication Principles of Sustainability.

 

 

Phil said we need to be sure the first section of the book flows together and the different pieces work well together. Phil tabled the discussion in the interest of time. Don suggested that we should discuss this more before sending Geoff off to a revision. Karen agreed to work with Geoff and continue the discussion.

 

 

Technical Team Updates

 

 

This discussion was tabled in the interest of time.

 

 

Public Listening Sessions

 

 

Karen began the discussion of public listening sessions, particularly Farm and Forest on February 6 and Granite State Division SAF on February 12. She also mentioned that there would be a presentation at Saving Special Places on April 5.

 

 

Farm and Forest

 

 

Karen explained the handout with the proposed plan for a carousel process at Farm and Forest. The intention was to add to our knowledge about what the public wants. No registration is required, and it is open to everyone.

 

 

Matt asked if is there value to having people have information to prepare ahead of time. Karen said we will make the recommendation to review the first edition in our marketing efforts.

 

 

Dave Tellman asked with there will there be hard copies of the first edition available at the session. Yes. There will be.

 

 

Phil asked what we want to get out of this session. Karen responded that we partly want to create a buzz about the document. Will Staats said we should let the crowd know that their recommendations may not appear in the revised edition, to avoid any potential confusion.

 

 

Emily suggested combining the questions about what people like and don’t like about the first edition into one station in the carousel.

 

 

Phil said we need to ask the crowd “how do we get you to use this document?”

 

 

Susan said that Farm and Forest attendance is not the traditional forestry groups, and we may learn of other organizations that we can present at.

 

 

Granite State SAF

 

 

Karen said there will be a similar introduction at this meeting. She asked if Will or Phil might consider handling the introduction.

 

 

Phil said we should be thinking about what will make that afternoon be useful to participants or make you feel engaged in this effort as a forester or member of the forestry community.

 

 

Perhaps we should seek feedback on the difficult questions we are having.

 

 

Bob Bradbury said that, assuming people have reviewed the first edition, there will be a lot of feedback. His fear is that the conversation may reveal we are going down the wrong path though much work has already been done.

 

 

Karen said there is a lot of detail that the participants will not have access to unless we present it to them. We can share our draft table of contents.

 

 

Will Staats said it seems risky to do this two weeks from now. Will suggested asking the group if they remember or used the first edition. We are not ready to show them our work.

 

 

Matt asked at what stage can the public make comments on this prior to the final draft. He said that if he were not directly involved in this process, he would appreciate the opportunity to review and comment on the final draft. Karen assured him that a final public review and comment will happen. Matt replied that we should point that out so participants would know that they will have the opportunity to comment before the book goes public.

 

 

Will Abbot suggested identifying three or 4 issues that we need help with and put them out for discussion. We could benefit by the advice, and people can feel like they have input.

 

 

Emily asked how we are going to get appropriate feedback. There will be 200 people there. How can we differentiate between the opinion of the group and the opinion of the fastest person to make a comment.

 

 

Bob suggested circulating the first edition table of contents and the draft table of contents before the meeting. Have an easel and pad available at the end for people to write last minute comments.

 

 

Ken suggested that we ask the participants to identify hot topics ahead of time. They need to tell us what they are interested in.

 

 

Don agreed that the group should identify the issues. We should not do that that for them. It sends a message that they really do not have a role in this process.  Karen reminded the group that we are in the middle of the process. Matt asked if we can get constructive feedback with that many people participating.

 

 

Phil suggested that the format should be different, perhaps break people into groups of 10 or 15.

 

 

Will Abbot offered that we might wish to frame the question differently: “we are having problems with topic X and would like your ideas”. Don says if we are trying to engage the crowd, we need to know what is on their minds.

 

 

Emily suggested making the topics match the topics in the book then people can choose a topic area. We can ask them what in this topic area is the most important for us to address. We will need strong facilitators to pull out appropriate feedback.

 

 

Geoff suggested the following format: an overview of the process, why it is being done, who is on the committee (this gives the committee credibility), old edition vs. new edition topics, then breakout to topical discussions. Some issues may get raised in those topical discussions.

 

 

Will Staats said the term “issues” implies that there is a problem. Frame the question as revising a book.

 

 

Phil suggested we breakout by topics and discuss how the issue has changed and what new information we might have.

 

 

Don asked if we know what is substantially different between first edition and this revision. Since there are areas where we do not have consensus among us, how can we introduce these topics for discussion?

 

 

Karen thanked the group and said she has a lot of ideas to work with.

 

 

Timeline and Workplan Discussion

 

 

This discussion was tabled in the interest of time.

 

 

The next Steering Committee meeting is February 19, 2009 at 9am at the Conservation Center, Concord, NH.

 

 

The meeting adjourned at 12:20 pm.

Notes submitted by Kristina Ferrare.

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