forest plan meetingsThursday July 10 from 9am-3pm at the Crowne Plaza Resort, downtown Asheville

Join Wild South and others who love NC’s public lands for a meeting that will focus on wildlife habitat, wild and scenic rivers, and the ecological integrity of the Nantahala-Pisgah National Forests.

The meeting is part of the ongoing  National Forests Plan Revision, which will guide management of the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests for the next 15 years.

Here are talking points that we will be using:

  • Adequate habitat is essential for all species on the forest, including rare species that depend on rare habitats and forest-interior species that depend on old-growth habitats, not just game species.
  • The Forest Service must assess the need for certain habitats using an “all-lands approach” meaning the Forest Service must consider the prevalence of certain habitats on lands outside but surrounding the national forest.
  • The ideal level, quality and kind of early successional habitat (“ESH”) on the forest is an ecological question that should be decided based on what would naturally occur, not preferences for recreational game species habitat.
  • An assessment of forest habitat should not just be just focused on ESH–the Forest Service must also determine if there are enough other, more fragile and rare habitats, like old growth.
  • An assessment of habitats on the forest must take into account the quality of habitat – how areas of the forest function and are connected – not just “stand age.”  Ensuring adequate habitat connectivity is particularly important for species that can’t travel long distances due either to physical limitations (salamanders, snails, etc.) or habitat limitations (high elevation species, aquatics, etc.).
  • Regeneration logging isn’t the cure for a forest with low structural diversity; it’s part of the problem. Regeneration logging just results in another even-aged stand without structural variety, and over reliance on regeneration will also perpetuate structural imbalance at the landscape level.
  • When measuring structural diversity (i.e., stand age) the Forest Service must take natural processes into account such as natural formation of ESH through windfall and other processes.
  • Protecting regionally and locally rare species, and species that are endemic to the Southern Appalachians, must be a high priority for the Forest Service.  These species should be included as “Species of Conservation Concern” and the Forest Plan should include provisions to protect their habitat.