The Iron Crystal Timber Sale is currently in the scoping phase of NEPA. At this stage, the proposal includes thinning in plantations and mature forest (80-100+ years old), regeneration harvest in plantations and mature forest, and regeneration harvest for huckleberry management in mature forest. The landscape in some areas has been altered by recent clearcutting – resulting in plantations. Other areas were created naturally by fires 80-100 years ago.
The CFC is supportive of the portions of the project that restore the landscape by thinning plantations and closing or decommissioning roads. However, we are concerned with the parts of the project that involve harvest in older stands, especially regeneration harvest. Regeneration harvest would clearcut most of the unit, leaving only 10-30% canopy cover. This extreme harvest would make these areas completely unusable to species dependent on mature forest like the spotted owl.
We will be working with the forest collaborative group toward a project that balances ecological restoration with timber harvest, and retains mature forest for wildlife habitat.