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Do forest practices differ around the United States, and does that make impacts regional?

LISTENING STUDY: Several responses reference the regional impacts of forest practices in the Southeastern United States.

Yes, forest management practices differ around the U.S and have various regional impacts. For example, in the south eastern U.S., forests intensively managed for wood and paper production generally exhibit less biodiversity, lower habitat and water quality, and poorer soil productivity than natural forests. - Victoria Mills, Project Manager, Corporate Partnerships, Environmental Defense

The Southeast is the epicenter of industrial logging in Eastern Forests. Indeed, the region provides 60% of the total U.S. timber harvest and produces more wood products than any other nation in the world. The principal driver of the southern logging boom is the growing harvest of pulpwood for paper and chipboard. Fast-growing and genetically selected slash and loblolly pines are the chief source of pulpwood in the South, and as demand has increased, native forests have been clear-cut and replaced with heavily managed pine plantations. - Biodiversity Project 2003

Clearcutting to supply the 150 chip mills in the (Southeastern) region is damaging forest health and resiliency, water quality, soil, wildlife, biodiversity and threatened and endangered species. USFS data shows that tree species composition in the pine and hardwood forests are changing; shade intolerant species that regenerate following clearcutting are dominating the forests of the region. The survival of species that depend on mature, interior forest ecosystems is threatened by accelerated clearcutting to feed chip mills as large tracts of mature, continuous forests are fragmented and converted to young forests. - Smith 1997

Currently, the southern U.S. is by far the largest paper-producing region in the world, with 103 pulp mills producing approximately 25% of the world's paper. Increasing production of paper and chipboard has resulted in accelerated clearcutting of southern forests and the conversion of native forests to single-species pine plantations. Since 1985, over 100 new chip mills have been constructed in the region, facilitating the expansion of paper and chipboard production. Chip mills are facilities that grind whole trees into wood chips. They are the most unregulated, highly-mechanized arm of industrial forestry, easily turning 100 truckloads of trees into chips per day.
     According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the South has more listed endangered and threatened species than any other region in the country. Ninety percent of the forests in the South are privately owned and lack legal protections. The recent proliferation of chip mills in the southern U.S. is causing unprecedented forest destruction, degrading water quality, wildlife, threatened and endangered species, overall forest health, and our local economies. - Dogwood Alliance

In recent years, logging has expanded in the Southern US and the Canadian Boreal forests, now the two largest paper producing regions in the world. Five million acres of Southern forests, the most biologically diverse forests in North America, are being logged each year to produce 25% of the world's paper products and two-thirds of the paper made in the U.S. Recently, the Natural Resources Defense Council named the Cumberland Plateau of KY, TN and AL on of the twelve most endangered regions in the Americas because of the impact of paper production on the region. - Forest Ethics

LISTENING STUDY: Other responses reference regional differences in forest types around the United States that necessitate unique forest practices. One response identifies specific regional impacts.

Yes, climate and tree species change from one regional part of the U.S. to another. Therefore, forestry practices are different to accommodate the regional climate. - International Paper

Around the U.S.? Hell, they differ from this stand to that one. Even from this place to that one within this stand. - Michael Snyder, Forester

Yes. Issues:
Northwest: Loss of remaining old growth, extensive areas of young plantation.
Intermountain West: Fire suppression and insufficient harvesting create unnatural wildfire hazard.
Southeast: Conversion of natural forest to short-rotation loblolly and shortleaf pine
Northeast: Most similar to natural forest processes of all regions. Old growth/late successional restoration needed due to long history of human use. - Robert R. Bryan, Forest Ecologist, Maine Audubon

Forest practices do differ across the country. The reason for these differences is that we find a wide variety of forest types within the U.S. Specific forest practices need to be developed to address the specific conditions that each of these types offer. - Stora Enso

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