Timber is being harvested from the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest in Forest County as part of a stewardship agreement with Sustainable Resources Institute, Inc. of Florence. (Submitted photo
3/20/2015 7:30:00 AM CNNF stewardship agreement with Sustainable Resources Institute Inc. moving forward
Timber is being cut in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest in Forest County near Laona as part of a Stewardship Agreement with the Sustainable Resources Institute, Inc. (SRI) from Florence. The first trees were harvested on March 10 and harvest will continue during the coming months.
According to a U.S. Forest Service press release, the agreement between the Forest Service and SRI was negotiated and finalized in 2014 with a total value of approximately $219,000 in conservation services generated from the sale of 2.3 million board feet of pulpwood and saw log volume. The timber was sold to Connor Forest Management Products LLP located in Crandon.
"Connor Forest Management purchased the sale from SRI and SRI can utilize income from this timber sale to pay for the completion of service work like road work, culvert installation and tree regeneration work," said Don Peterson, Sustainable Resources Institute, Inc.
Through the stewardship agreement, the revenue from the timber sale stays on the CNNF allowing for more management work to be accomplished on the CNNF. This agreement not only involved SRI and the CNNF, it was a direct result of the efforts of a Stewardship Steering Committee made up of representatives from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association, Lake States Lumber Association, Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources, Wisconsin County Forests Association, Ruffed Grouse Society, Wisconsin Consulting Foresters, Growth North Regional Economic Development Corp., UW-Extension Forestry and USFS Forest Products Marketing Unit.
The 2014 Farm Bill provided permanent stewardship authority to the Forest Service (as authorized by Public Law 108-7), which allows the Forest Service to sell timber and instead of collecting money for the timber value to apply the value of timber products against the cost of "services" received. Services are conservation practices described in the Land and Resource Management Plan for the Forest and cleared for implementation after project-specific planning is completed. Stewardship projects improve, maintain, or restore forest health; restore or maintain water quality; improve fish and wildlife habitat; and reduce hazardous fuels that pose risks to communities and ecosystem values. Service items in the agreement are contracted out by SRI to professional contractors.
"The permanent stewardship authority Congress provided in the 2014 Farm Bill expands our ability to meet the goals and objectives in our Forest Plan, including offering additional timber sales, which help us meet desired land conservation outcomes and provide economic input to local communities," said Paul Strong, Forest Supervisor, Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. "We are very appreciative of Sustainable Resources Institute's willingness to try the agreement process with us and for the State of Wisconsin through the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to provide seed money to support this."
Stewardship agreements with non-profit entities like SRI, local government units, or Tribes allow greater outcomes in part because partners in the agreement contribute 20 percent of the value of the projects. The CNNF is in the process of negotiating stewardship agreements with several other partners as well as a second agreement with SRI to further the conservation goals on the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.
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