Arizona: More on 2 million acre forest thinning mega-project

Todd Schulke, forest programs director of the Center for Biological
Diversity, called the project unique at the national level.”The fact
that consensus was reached on almost 70 percent of the landscape is
remarkable,” he said. In an earlier interview with the Rim Country
Gazette, Dan Eckstein, assistant fire officer with the Payson Ranger
District, said the district has tried chipping the wood in the debris
piles, but the practice is labor intensive.

“It’s expensive,” he said,
“And you need real good access.” A company in Snowflake, Renergy,
ground up the limbs and hauled the ground up debris away by
semi-truck. “They had come down and tub-grinded the material and
hauled it by semi, but they had places closer. Basically, it boils
down to economics and what’s feasible and cost effective,” “Right now
we pay people to clean the forest,” Martin said. “We don’t have enough
money in the treasury to do that. We do in the economy to solve this
forest health issue.” She said the plan approved by the Arizona Board
of Supervisors entails no public subsidies at all. Martin talked about
a chipboard company in Winslow that has been part of the discussion.
On Feb. 18, 2008, that company, Arizona Forest Restoration Products,
Inc. (AZFRP) posted the following information on its website: “Arizona
Forest Restoration Products Inc. (AZFRP) is pleased to announce that
the results of the Regional Wood Supply Study released by Northern
Arizona University ForestERA confirm the ecological and social
sustainability and appropriate size of the AZFRP Oriented Strand Board
(OSB) project.”

Martin said no other company has come forward, but if
such a plan goes through, the work of cleaning the forest of debris
that could be recycled means adding some 600 jobs to the area. “Their
proposal is to make money on this,” Martin said. “Make a profit and
clean the forest following environmental guidelines. We’re strictly
trying to make it work, make the economy restore the forest. “The
resolution is where the social license comes together with the
political will to allow industry and the economy to clean the forest
and restore its health following environmental guidelines.” The
Analysis of Small Diameter Wood Supply in Northern Arizona can be
downloaded from the ForestERA website at:
www.forestera.nau.edu/project_woodsupply_finalreport.htm or from the
AZFRP website at azfrp.com

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