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Enviro-Mich message from "david zaber" <dzaber@gateway.net>


A correction on my previous email regarding the Ottawa National Forest.  I
mistakenly said that the land area within the boundaries of the Ottawa was
approximately 988,000 acres. I was wrong.  

Please change this value to 988,504 acres (this may not include some
recently acquired lands along the Ontonagon River) as Net National Forest
Acreage.  The boundaries of the National Forest encompass approximately
1,559,892 acres, not the ~ 980,000 acres I cited.  However, the areas open
to timber harvest (suitable lands) are approximately 562,000 acres with the
remaining 418,000 acres  considered "unsuitable" for timber harvest.  Sorry
for the mistake.  However, this does not change the point of this section
of my previous message.  

Also note:  The 418,000 acres includes Federal Wilderness (49,677 acres),
lakes, rivers and streams, as well as rocks, shorelines, and other areas
with little or no merchantable timber value.  These are not areas with lots
of mature forests that are in a protected state.  they are areas deemed
"unsuitable" by the Forest Service.

In addition, the letter from Ottawa National Forest Supervisor, Phyllis
Green, indicated that "...the total timber harvest averages approximately
1.4% of net national forest acres (the 982,000 value) per year.  From 1987
to 1995, "total acres of timber sales sold...has averaged 14,077 acres, of
which 2,873 acres are clearcut."  Thus, Ms. Green points out that, "Using
the above numbers, the total harvest averages approximately 1.4% of net
national forest acreage per year."  "Therefore, the total harvest is
slightly over one percent per year, while clearcut acreage is well under
one percent per year."  

Now, here is where the problem that I pointed out occurs:  The 1.4% per
year ("slightly over 1% per year" according to Ms. Green) means that the
entire forest could be cut within 70.42 years!  However, that figure is
quite misleading.  Why?  Because the area that  open to timber harvest or
"suitable" lands, is the 562,000 acres (one cannot harvest trees in
Wilderness, ponds, rivers, etc.) figure.  Thus, the rate of harvest of
suitable lands is 14,077 acres divided by 562,000 acres (multiply by 100
for percent) which equals approximately 2.5% per year.  That is
substantially higher then the 1.4% figure cited for the net forest acreage
cut by Ms. Green.  Thus, at this rate, the suitable lands for harvest will
be logged within 40 years!  

A call from a Ottawa NF staffer mentioned that this figure includes areas
that are re-entered every ten years or so.  If so, then why do we need more
roads built in the Ottawa? (and there are more roads being built on the
Ottawa) To access the areas that have already been logged once? Also, this
means that areas receiving some form of logging may see another entry for
logging within a decade or two.  Imagine what this means for species
needing remote and undisturbed habitat.  Also, what does this mean for soil
compaction? Large woody debris?  Etc.  What it means folks, is that the
areas being logged will likely never be left alone to recover.  The oil
spills, litter, soil disturbance, plant trampling, loss of wildlife
habitat, etc. will continue, ad infinitum.  

I hope my previous mistake on the Ottawa NF boundaries did not cause too
much trouble for the readers of these messages.  I also hope that these
calculations show the type of logging and the extent of logging that is
going on in our public lands of Michigan.

Finally, I should point out that you too can access the letter from Phyllis
Green to myself by asking the Ottawa NF to send you a copy of the July 29,
1996 letter to David Zaber.  File code 6270.  

David John Zaber
904 Glaizewood Court
Takoma Park, MD 20912

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