DNR Increases 10-Year Sustainable Timber Harvest Target
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says it has set a new 10-year sustainable timber harvest at 870,000 cords offered for sale annually from DNR-managed forest lands. This represents an 8.75 percent increase in the harvest target.
According to a release from the Minnesota DNR, they will also launch a special five-year initiative that could offer up to 30,000 additional cords of ash and tamarack in response to the threat posed by emerald ash borer and eastern larch beetle, two invasive species that kill ash and tamarack trees.
The DNR manages 5 million acres of forest lands – 29 percent of the state’s total forest lands. Timber harvesting occurs on 2.75 million acres of DNR-managed lands that are in state forests, wildlife management areas, and school and university trust lands. These lands provide about 30 percent of the state’s wood supply for a forest products industry that employs 64,000 people and has a $17.1 billion annual economic impact.
The new sustainable harvest was determined after more than a year of scientific analysis, discussions with stakeholders — including conservation organizations and the forest industry — and public input.
“The DNR conducted a rigorous analysis of our state’s sustainable timber supply. We are confident this new harvest level strikes the right balance between the needs of clean water, wildlife, the forest industry, and recreation,” said Tom Landwehr, DNR commissioner. “This decision reflects careful consideration of the multitude of uses, habitat needs and ecological benefits that come from DNR-managed forest lands.”
For the past 15 years, the DNR’s annual sale target has been 800,000 cords of timber. Given that forests are dynamic, ever-changing systems, it was time to do a new, full-scale assessment of the timber harvest levels.