Twelve-mile timber project approved in Pisgah National Forest

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The U.S. Forest Service has completed an environmental assessment and made a final decision on the Twelve Mile Project, one of the largest timber sales in the history of Pisgah National Forest, the Citizen Times reports. The U.S. Forest Service says on their website that the “Twelve Mile Project will help maintain a healthy and diverse forest that supports wildlife, provides a sustainable output of timber, improves water quality and aquatic habitat, and improves access to the forest.” The project is needed to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the forest in order to meet the needs of current and future generations, the U.S. Forest Service says. 

According to the Forest Service website, the Twelve Mile Project will:

  • Designate small patch old growth to ensure habitat connectivity between the designated medium and large patch old growth
  • Use commercial and non-commercial timber harvest techniques to promote the growth of young trees, increase the diversity of forest structure and age classes, improve wildlife habitat, and regenerate oaks
  • Conduct prescribed burns to promote fire-adapted plant communities and create and maintain open forest conditions
  • Improve the composition, structure, condition, health, and growth of young forest strands by removing competing vegetation
  • Increase open forest conditions across woodlands which typically have an open canopy with a grassy understory
  • Thin forest to improve growth and enhance forest health
  • Create or maintain wildlife openings to provide important feeding areas for a variety of wildlife
  • Improve stream crossings to restore aquatic organism passages where roads cross streams
  • Enhance streams by improving aquatic habitat diversity and stabilizing streambanks to prevent erosion

“I applaud the Forest Service for the process and outcome of this project,” Josh Kelly, public lands biologist with an environmental group Mountain True told the Citizen Times. “This proves that multiple-use management can work for everyone when all perspectives are valued.” 

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