Creation and maintaining wildlife habitat and timber management can go hand in hand if managed correctly. We have documented time after time that our state forests are not meeting the habitat required by most forest dependent wildlife species.
This past November DNR director Rodney Stokes announced “our department has a central and growing role in Michigan?s natural resource base economy”. He announced that he was breaking up the Forest Management Division into different divisions, one of which is the Forest Resources Division with the responsibility of working closely with the new Timber Advisory Council. In his statement he also stated “greatly boost our ability to establish Michigan as the Trail State”. Trail State? With our tremendous wealth of public land when are we going to return to having bountiful numbers of wildlife and then we can once again be the Wildlife State!
So what and who is the new Timber Advisory Council? They are to focus on how best to achieve the most prudent utilization of forest product resources. The majority of the members represent the forest products industry. J.R. Richardson of the NRC is chair. The Nature Conservancy has a seat as does a Ph.D. with Michigan Tech at Houghton. Several years ago the timber industry obtained legislation that requires the DNR to furnish them with 53,000 acres of timber each year from our state forests. Talk about the fox watching the hen house. We remember the Nature Conservancy as opposing our appeal over the setting aside of 173,000 acres of old growth forest within the Huron-Manistee Nation Forest that was projected to double in size by 2035. Nowhere in all of this commercialization of our state forest lands is wildlife represented, which certainly should come as no surprise.
For more, see Of Public Turkeys and Forests XI on our site.