forest_alliance_logoFATHER’S DAY 2014 — In times past forest preservation groups have tried many different methods to bring public attention to the cause of forest preservation. There were protests at timber sales, tree sitting, and lots of sign carrying. These groups had their hearts in the right place, unfortunately the net effect of their protests was to allow the opposition to marginalize their efforts. Their spin went something like this, look at those crazy hippies up in the trees, obviously no right thinking person can be expected to take them seriously.

Interestingly the forest plan they were protesting was the old one when the cut rate was 17% and a tract was “visited” once in twenty years. The new plan has increased the cut rate by a 1,000% and includes visiting a given tract twice, or even three times in twenty years.

The realization that we were facing a complete alteration of the forest, indeed the removal of the forest (including the formerly protected Back Country areas), upped the anti, and a new approach was called for.

This is what we’re seeing now. People from all walks of life, on both sides of the isles are joining hands to oppose the new plan, and one of the important tools is science.

I mentioned the Eco-blitz the IFA is conducting over the next few weeks, scientists from several universities are gathering to conduct a complete inventory of all the plants and animals currently residing in the forest. Several endangered species have been identified, and this is a first step.

The DNR is charged with practicing good forest management designed to sustain and protect the forest in perpetuity. The original plan called for sustained timber harvest and to provide multi use opportunities.

Since their formation a hundred years ago they have never conducted a study of this scope and scale, the few and far between studies were short term and limited to small areas. In other words they have no firm information what’s actually out there and what if any creatures are dependant on undisturbed forest land.

You might think the DNR would be pleased this study is being conducted, especially since they didn’t have to pay for it. Well, think again.

As a condition to issue the permit, the DNR drew up an agreement that included a clause forbidding the IFA, or the participating scientists from using any information they gathered to oppose the new plan. The IFA refused to sign, and it looked like the Eco-blitz would have to be canceled.

At the last minute the DNR backed down and is allowing the study to take place.

This is what we’re up against, the DNR doesn’t want anyone to review the new plan, even by the people who own the forest, namely the citizens of Indiana.

Being a good steward is a lot like being a good father, it takes patience and love with a look ahead to consider the consequences of your actions.

Something to think about on Father’s day.

~~~ David Seastrom
BCH Co-Producer and unabashed treehugger

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