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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why would we cut trees when we want our forests to collect and store atmospheric carbon to mitigate climate change?
    Let me address this one with a statement critiquing the usefulness of policies of hands-off management or preservationist approaches for forest management: SAF addresses a political movement known as 'proforestation' Generally speaking, 'proforestation' advocates seek to ban active forest management on public lands, and is founded on the belief that, in the face of climate change, we can maximize carbon sequestration and storage through a halt on all forest management activities which may remove carbon, such as logging, thinning, controlled burning, or even wildfire prevention. Problematically, this idea does not factor in the loss of benefits fostered by forest management including biodiversity, a clean and stable water supply, adaptation to a changing climate, rural economic activity, etc. The IPCC recognizes sustainable forest management as critical to mitigating climate change through not only carbon storage, but minimizing emissions-emitting disturbances like wildfire, and providing a renewable alternative to emissions-intensive materials such as steel and concrete. The 'proforestation' concept has appeared before local legislatures, has been prominently featured by major environmental organizations, and has been adopted as a climate solution by some environmental scientists. Recently, its advocates provided testimony before Congress, claiming wildfire management techniques like restoration and fuel-management are false fronts for profit-driven timber harvesting. ​ While SAF has always educated diverse audiences about the benefits of forest management and the critical work of forestry professionals, this is the first time they directly call out 'proforestation', and they have published this handout to educate the public and policymakers on the issue. SAF is dedicated to supporting forestry and natural resource professionals, which involves educating the public on science-based forest management and the essential services it provides to a growing population, both in the US and abroad. Download the handout here Download the handout with references/citations here Find more information on SAF’s advocacy and outreach page​
  • I understand the need for timber harvesting, but why do they have to be so messy? Why can’t they chip the brush?"
    This is the most common question that public lands foresters receive. Leftover branches and treetops on the ground after a harvest will decompose and return nutrients to the soil. It also provides valuable cover for small mammals, amphibians and turtles. If the brush is thick enough, it may even discourage deer from eating the new tree seedlings. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and what looks messy to a human looks like a safe haven for to a ground-nesting bird for laying eggs.
  • How would do I find out about harvesting timber on my property?
    The first thing you want to do is to have a liscenced forester look at your property and talk with them about its potential. They can perform and inventory and estimate the value of your timber, as well as construct a management plan to meet your goals, maintain your forest through the harvest, and ensure its regeneration in the future. To learn about what foresters do and how to talk to them about selling timber, check out this brochure by The University of Connecticut and the CT Dept. of Energy and the Environment. See this Massachusettes site to connect to a licenced forester in the state. See this Connecticut site to connect to a licenced forester in the state. See this Rhode Island site to connect to a licenced forester in the state.
  • Why am I seeing so many large dead oak trees in the forest lately?
    For the past few years (2016 - 2018) southern New England experienced a drought, and the gypsy moth caterpillar population built up in those years until they were on nearly every tree in 2018. Oak leavs are their favorite food, but they will also eat almost any tree (except the tulip tree, they hate that one). Due to stress from the drought and constant defoliation by the caterpillars, many trees died. Wet springs have kept the caterpillars under control since then, and if the trees are lucky it will be many years befoe their population builds uo like that agian. However, Some trees were so distressed that native pests (including the two-lined chestnut borer and armillaria fungus) were able to finish them off, and are still killing stressed trees today. Read more about this "slow storm" in an article by extension forester Thomas Worthley.
  • If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is there to hear it, does it make a noise?"
    Yes! Click this (link) to hear a tree falling.
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