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DNR opens public comment period on draft sustainable timber harvest analysis

Dec 03, 2017 11:22AM ● By Editor

The Department of Natural Resources is seeking comments by Dec. 30 on a draft sustainable timber harvest analysis that will be used to help determine the statewide timber harvest level on DNR-administered forest land. 

“This is the public’s opportunity to review the computer modeling data, see the broad range of factors that go into making this decision, and provide meaningful input,” said DNR Forestry planner Jon Drimel. “The analysis does not identify a recommended sustainable harvest level. Rather, it presents a range of possible harvest scenarios and the effects that varying levels of timber harvest are projected to have on the forest economy, forest ecosystems, watersheds and other indicators of forest health.”

Because forests are dynamic and ever-changing, the DNR re-evaluates its forest resource management plans about every 10 years. For this analysis, Gov. Mark Dayton directed the DNR to specifically determine whether harvesting 1 million cords per year from DNR forest lands is sustainable and if that is not sustainable to identify an alternate sustainable harvest number. The DNR’s current sustainable harvest target is 800,000 cords annually.

The DNR has contracted with the forest management consulting firm Mason, Bruce & Girard to perform an independent, third-party analysis of the DNR’s timber harvest level. In addition, the DNR has engaged a diverse advisory group representing timber, conservation, environmental, and public landowner interests to work with staff and provide input throughout the process.

The draft report and more information about the analysis are posted on the DNR’s project webpage.

A seven-minute video steps viewers through the forest modeling process, the environmental factors that were considered in the analysis, and how the information will be used to set the DNR’s future timber harvest level.

Anyone interested in commenting on the draft analysis can fill out the online public comment survey, email comments to [email protected], or send written comments by mail to: Sustainable Timber Harvest Analysis, Department of Natural Resources, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN  55155.

The public comment period will close on Dec. 30. The DNR will then consider those public comments in finalizing the analysis report and determining its updated sustainable timber harvest level. The final report and decision on the sustainable harvest level will be delivered to Dayton and the Legislature by March 1.

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