‘EZ Form’ Timber Harvest Plan
The need for an ‘EZ form’ timber harvest plan for light-touch logging
More than 90 percent of the Mattole’s primeval forests were cut between 1947 and 1988, and nearly all the remaining old-growth is now under permanent protection. As the forest grows back in our watershed – about 80 percent of which is in private hands – coming decades will see at least some owners decide to log.
The Mattole Restoration Council prepared a Program Timberland Environmental Impact Report (PTEIR) that gives landowners streamlined approval for their logging plans, provided they are conducting light-touch harvesting as described in the PTEIR. The selective harvesting to be allowed under the PTEIR is designed to hasten the recovery of the second-growth forest to provide habitat for birds, mammals, and amphibians that thrive amid older, larger trees.
Not only that, it will help large landowners keep their holdings intact without subdivision, reducing further demands on the already-scarce summer flows that sustain our Chinook, coho and steelhead. To the extent that such harvest takes place under our logging program (instead of under regular Timber Harvest Plans and Non-Industrial Timber Management Plans, which will still be available to Mattole landowners), the forests will be healthier, will face lower risk of catastrophic fire, and will see fewer trees cut simply to pay for the cost of the permits. As regulations have become more complex, a standard timber harvest plan has come to cost more than $30,000 — a cost that ultimately is borne by the harvest of more trees.