Public comment requested on MN timber-harvest goals.
Post date: Dec 24, 2017 12:52:26 AM
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MN DNR) has been asked to re-examine its timber-harvest goal for the 5 million acres of forests it manages in the state. Based on MN DNR and industry input, the goal is currently set at 800,000 cords per year. At this level of harvest, the forestry industry in Minnesota employs more than 64,000 people, and provides general revenue to the state and School Trust revenue to the schools (MN DNR 2017a). Some legislators would like to boost the industry by increasing the goal to 1,000,000 cords per year.
As in any change of this kind, there would be both costs and benefits. Costs would include the loss of old-growth forest habitat that's home to many types of wildlife (MN DNR 2017b) and appreciated by many types of people, and the consequent losses in natural resources, outdoor-recreation opportunities, and tourism revenue. The Minnesota tourism industry employs nearly 260,000 people and provides $930 million in sales-tax revenue (Explore MN 2017). Benefits would include an increase in forestry jobs, and increased state revenue.
An analysis of the proposed increase concluded that it would conflict with the conservation of the "non-timber values" of Minnesota forests, including "natural resource economies, biodiversity, water quality, wildlife habitat, and forest health" (MN DNR 2017c, Draft Report, Scenario 2).
If you believe that the current timber-harvest goal of 800,000 cords per year is high enough; and that increasing it to 1,000,000 cords per year would have environmental, economic, and human costs that would outweigh the benefits; then please fill out the public-comment form and ask the MN DNR to leave the goal where it is, at 800,000 cords per year or less.
Explore Minnesota. 2017. "2017 Tourism and the Economy Fact Sheet."
MN DNR. 2017a. "Sustainable Timber Harvest Analysis."
MN DNR. 2017b. "Importance of old-growth forests."
MN DNR. 2017c. "DNR Sustainable Timber Harvest Analysis."