Illinois: Bethlehem water agency taking cut-rate bid on a logging contract

When it comes to logging for forest health, the less interested the
loggers are in your cutting plan, the more likely the plan is
credible. Which isn’t to imply that we solve problems (bad logging in
the past) by doing more of what caused the problem in the first place
(more bad logging with fake green eco-talk). Leaving the forest alone
preserves options for the future… The more a forest is allowed to
naturally thin itself out, the more likely the forest will be
resilient to storms, fire and disease. The more humans think it’s okay
to do the same things that storms, fire and diseases do, the more
likely a forest will be more vulnerable and more easiely destroyed by
storms, fire and disease. –Editor, Forest Policy Research

Bethlehem’s water agency is taking a cut-rate bid on a logging
contract in order to continue an environmental plan designed to
restore the health of the Poconos forests surrounding the city’s water
supply. After two public bids went unanswered last year, the Bethlehem
Authority negotiated a deal with a global paper company to log the
165-acre stand, a mile from its inaugural cuts in Monroe County, for
as much as $60,000. That’s nearly 40 percent less than what the
authority originally wanted for the timber. The recession and
dwindling demand for lumber in the home-building sector has suppressed
the price of timber. However, authority Executive Director Steve
Repasch said the agency cannot wait for wood prices to rise again
because the timber program is not only a money-making enterprise, but
also an environmental one.

The forest, like half the 17 million acres
of woodlands across the state, faces regeneration problems. Underbrush
and other trees are crowding out native and valuable hardwoods, such
as oak and black cherry trees. Two years ago, the authority sprayed
herbicides to kill that underbrush and planned to remove some of the
fast-growing unwanted trees, such as striped maple trees. The clearing
would open up the forest floor and allow in sunlight for seedlings of
more valuable hardwoods to grow. ”That spraying lasts for only about
two to three years,” Repasch said. ”If we don’t log that stand now,
all of that underbrush will be back.” Through word of mouth,
Glatfelter — a papermaker with headquarters in York, York County —
expressed interest. Instead of the typical bids the authority has
made, this deal calls for the company to pay for the timber as it is
logged. The bill is expected to come to $50,000 to $60,000 over 12
weeks. The company began cutting down trees at the end of the year in
Tunkhannock Township, Repasch said. Glatfelter supplies specialty
papers and engineered products that range from high-quality book
publishing papers and envelopes to products such as tea bags and
postage stamps.,0,654036.story?track=rss-topicgallery

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