Beaver Creek harvests approved. Better is better, right?
What you need to know:
What you need to know:
The project originally included a total of 303 acres of timber harvests. However, Forest Service biologists recently found an endangered Virginia big-eared bat (Corynorhinus townsendii virginianus) in a cave less than a quarter mile from a 35-acre stand proposed for a shelterwood cut. That particular stand is a nice area of forest with mostly mature white and black oaks near the head of Joes Branch, upstream from the Leatherwood Loop Trail. Logging the stand would have required many stream crossings to haul out the large amount of merchantable timber. Removing this stand from the harvest plan was necessary to comply with the Forest Plan and the Endangered Species Act. Regardless, the Forest Service should be commended for doing the appropriate surveys and modifying the project accordingly. This hasn’t always been the way of things.
The project had also included 170 acres of herbicide applications (stump-treatments) on cut red maples and sassafras to promote oak regeneration. Instead, the Forest Service has now agreed to a follow-up non-commercial thinning in 10 years to reduce competition, largely to promote oaks and hickories. Without some kind of follow-up treatment, the harvested stands could end up like many previously harvested oak-hickory and oak-pine stands in the Daniel Boone that are now dominated by stump-sprouted red maples. The Forest Service also agreed to reduce the impacts of non-native invasive plants in harvest areas through manual and mechanical treatments. Kentucky Heartwood raised concerns about non-native invasive plants early, particularly because some of the harvest units have significant infestations of aggressive species on their edges. Harvesting them without mitigation would encourage encroachment of invasive plants into forest interiors.
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