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Article #40, October 2000
By Bill Cook

     Have you ever wondered about logging practices you see as you travel across Michigan?  Have you seen sites that don’t seem to be good examples of logging?  Well, if you have and if it bothers you enough to ask, try the toll-free number 1-800-682-4979. 

     This public concern and response service was created by Michigan’s Sustainable Forest Initiative (SFI)SM Implementation Committee.     

     When you call, you can receive answers to general questions about logging or you can ask about an operation at a specific location.  If needed, an on-site inspection of the site will happen.  You would be welcome to participate in the inspection.  If corrective or legal action is needed, you’ll be notified when the actions are completed. 

     In any case, you will receive some answers.

     So, what is good logging?

     Good logging has several key elements.  First, no laws have been broken or regulations violated.  Second, the operation is consistent with what has been understood by the logger, forester, and the landowner.  This is often part of a forest management plan and a timber sale contract.  Third, provision for forest regeneration has been made, which is usually stimulated naturally but might require planting.  Fourth, water quality has been maintained, usually through the implementation of Michigan’s “best management practices.”  Fifth, visual considerations have been implemented where needed.  Lastly, wildlife habitat, biodiversity, and ecosystem functions have not been damaged, at least as far as can be known.

     Can everyone agree on what constitutes good logging?  Obviously not.  There are some who believe that cutting any tree is a bad idea.  Others object to logging only if it’s “in their back yard.”  Most of us accept it as a reasonable management practice as long as it is done the right way.

     Properly done, logging is an integral part of forest management.  Management is done to provide more “stuff” for people in a shorter period of time.  “Stuff” includes such things as wood, wildlife habitat, recreation opportunities, and healthy forest conditions. 

     Michigan loggers are expected to do business in a professional manner and the great majority of them do.  Most have completed the Michigan Sustainable Forestry Education program and participate in annual continuing education opportunities.

     Logging is part of a long-term vision for a forest property.  Sometimes, there are short-term logging impacts that some people object to.  These tend to be mostly visual issues, especially with clearcutting.  Other times, a favorite hunting spot might be logged.  The changes might be bothersome, even if they end up promoting better game habitat. 

     If you call the “logging hotline,” you will receive a response.  Your questions will be answered.  And if an operation has problems, actions to address the problems will be taken.  You can be a part in making logging practices and forest management as good as possible.    

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Bill Cook is an MSU Extension forester providing educational programming for the entire Upper Peninsula. His office is located at the MSU Upper Peninsula Tree Improvement Center near Escanaba. The Center is the headquarters for three MSU Forestry properties in the U.P., with a combined area of about 8,000 acres. He can be reached at cookwi@msu.edu or 906-786-1575.

Prepared by Bill Cook, Forester/Biologist, Michigan State University Extension, 6005 J Road, Escanaba, MI  49829
906-786-1575 (voice),  906-786-9370 (fax),  e-mail:  cookwi@msu.edu

Use / reprinting of these articles is encouraged. Please notify Bill Cook.
By-line should read "Bill Cook, MSU Extension" Please use the article trailer whenever possible.

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