Maine Forestry Ban

Thom dodd at
Sun Jun 9 13:46:59 EST 1996

There will be a referendum question on the Maine ballot in November the 
concerns the future of forestry in this State.  The question was put on the 
ballot by a petition initiative led by the person who was the 1994 Green Party 
candidate for governor.  The petition was signed by 55,000 people at polling 
stations during the 1995 election.  The petition was titled in a way that 
implied it was a ban on "clearcutting", but the fine print of the language 
restricted all types of timber harvest.  Many petition signers have publically 
objected to have been "hoodwinked" about the real intent of the petition.

If passed, this referendum would restrict forestry on Maine's unorganized 
townships, or about half of the state.


Guide to Forestry Restrictions

The Green Party Forestry Ban, if enacted, would severely restrict sound forest 
practices.  This is a summary of to those restrictions.

Enact Sec 6. 12MRSA Sec 685-A, §12 to read:

Forest management standards.  Notwithstanding subsection 5 or any other 
provision of state law to the contrary, all timber harvesting activities 
within the [LURC] commission's jurisdiction must comply with the following 
minimum standards.

A.	Clearcutting is prohibited.

B.	Not more than 1/3 of the volume may be removed in a 15 year           
        period.  (Trees 4.5" DBH and larger.)

C.	(1)	Post harvest basal area of trees 4.5" DBH+ cannot be          
                less than:
			65 FT² in hardwood stands; or
  			75 FT² in mixedwood stands; or
			90 FT² in softwood stands.

                 - OR -
	(2)	Post harvest stands must have an "R" of 1.  or 		      
                more when calculated by the formula R = S + T,                

		S = (number of trees 1" to 4.5" DBH) / 1000
		T = (basal area of trees 4.5" DBH+) / BA standards
		    for SW, MW, or HW stands as listed in (1)

D.	Trees in post harvest stand must be well distributed.  Post harvest   
        stand must maintain tree species, tree size, and tree age compared to 
        preharvest stand.

E.	No openings greater than 1/2 acre.

F.	Trees must be delimbed at cutting site.  Slash must be left in the 
        woods.  (Prohibits chipping tops and limbs for biomass.)

The following is a description of some timber harvesting practices that would 
become illegal under the Green Party Forestry Ban.

Stand improvement:

(1)  Harvest of undesirable trees so that desirable trees will have room to 
grow.  Undesirable trees include trees of poor form, rotten or diseased, or 
insect damaged.  Violates §12(D).

(2)  Harvest of fast growing, mature trees within a stand of slower growing, 
immature trees.  Example would be the harvest of mature poplar trees in a 
young maple-birch stand.  Violates §12(D).

Shelterwood cutting:

Two or three stand entries in a 10 to 20 year period to open the stand up 
enough to encourage remaining trees to seed in the next crop.  Typically 40% 
of the overstory is removed.   Violates § 12(B,C,D).

Commercial thinning:

Thinning an overstocked stand to allow room for remaining trees to grow.  Of 
particular concern would be the impossibility of using mechanized harvesters 
to cut small diameter trees in overstocked stands due to the due to the 
prohibition on chipping for biomass.  Loss of mechanized operations would mean 
far few stands could have this beneficial treatment.  Violates § 12(C,D,F).

Precommercial thinning:

Precommercial thinning, usually by brush saw, thins overstocked stands to 
allow room for remaining trees to grow.  Trees removed are selected on the 
basis of species, size, and age.   Violates §12(D).

Plantation establishment:

Low value stands growing on high quality sites should be con sidered for 
replacement.  These stands have a negative rate of return and do little to 
provide high value products sought by sawmills.   Violates §12(A,B,C,D,E,F).

I am quite concerned about the negative consequences of such a forestry ban 
and support the defeat of this referendum.  For more information write:

Supporters:	Ban the Clearcut Campaign, State Street, Augusta, ME

Opponents:	Citizen for a Heathy Forest and Economy, PO Box 4690,
		Portland, ME 04112

"May the Forest be With You."

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