July 1, 1999
To the Editor of the Beacon and Advocate News:
Lisa Norman's article of June 24th from the Beacon requires some additional facts to allow readers to get the full picture of what we are doing in Greenwood Creek.
MRC recently amended a harvest plan that was originally written in 1995. The original plan was for 194 acres of commercial thinning, and would have resulted in trees being harvested from the entire plan area. The original plan also contemplated taking many of the bigger trees in the plan area.
The amended plan has been reduced to 168 acres, of which 134 acres will not be harvested in any manner, period. The remaining 31 acres will be harvested in 15 openings of about 2 acres each, commonly thought of as group selections. Group selection silviculture is an un-even aged management regime, and has been advocated by many national environmental organizations.
In addition, the amended plan explicitly states that trees that are i) 48 inches in diameter or larger, and ii) estimated to be 250 years old or older, will not be harvested. Our foresters have marked trees meeting this criteria to insure that they are not harvested.
The article repeats the allegation that "aside from minor cosmetic improvementsŠgood stewardship of the land has not been seen overall". Readers should be aware that MRC has budgeted approximately $3 million for road redesign, relocation, rehabilitation and repair. We believe that this level of investment is one of the most significant things we can do to help the coho salmon, since investments in roads is the best way to reduce non-point source sediment pollution headed towards streams, and respectfully submit that this constitutes more than "minor cosmetic improvements." And we are doing much more than this to benifit the coho.
An allegation is also made that a harvest rate of 40 million board feet is not sustainable. MRC is harvesting at 50 percent to 60 percent of a conservative estimate of the growth of the forest. This approach assures that every year there will be more trees, and more volume of standing timber, in the forest. This is one powrful indicator of sustainable forestry.
We are pursuing Forest Stewardship Council accredited certification of our lands. It is true we are not yet certified. What other large landowner in the region is even discussing holding themselves to standards of forest management that have been endorsed by the leading environmental organization in the country?
We are approaching our first anniversary of being in business. Many changes have been made to the operation of our company in a short time. Everyday we are making significant progress in demonstrating that it is possible to manage a forest with a high standard of environmental stewardship and operate as a successful business at the same time. People wanting more information about what we are doing should visit our web site (www.mendocinocredwoodco.com,) or call our office and we would be happy to forward a full printout. We welcome continuing interest in all aspects of what we do in the forest, we also believe that focusing discussion around the facts will lead to better public understanding and better forestry.