14. LIFE BELOW WATER

New management plan for Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forest  increases logging for timber, wildfire mitigation

New management plan for Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forest  increases logging for timber, wildfire mitigation
Written by ZJbTFBGJ2T

New plan for GMUG forest increases logging, irks environmentalists  The Colorado Sun

New management plan for Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forest  increases logging for timber, wildfire mitigation

A new forest plan for the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forest

Introduction

A new forest plan for the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forest is riling environmental groups worried about an increase in logging across the 3.2 million-acre forest.

The Draft Record of Decision

The Draft Record of Decision issued last month — written by Forest Supervisor Chad Stewart — replaces the forest’s 1983 management plan. The plan was launched in 2017 and the forest has collected perspectives from 900 people at 21 open houses and 16 webinars between 2017 and 2021. 

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The new plan aligns with several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG 15 (Life on Land) and SDG 13 (Climate Action). It addresses challenges such as increasing recreation, climate change, and the need for strategic management of fuels in the wildland-urban interface.

Concerns from Environmental Groups

Coalition of Colorado Conservation Groups

Wildfire Mitigation and Logging

  • All nine counties within the national forest support wildfire mitigation work on public lands. However, there are disagreements about where the mitigation should take place.
  • The forest is receiving $20.8 million in funding for wildfire mitigation, which includes logging, on 236,245 acres. This funding aims to support local sawmills and jobs in the forestry industry.

Impact on Forests and Wildlife

  • Environmental groups are concerned about logging on steep slopes, which could impact water quality.
  • There are concerns about the lack of protection for threatened species, such as the Canadian lynx and Gunnison sage grouse.

Forest Plan Details

Increased Logging and Wilderness Areas

  • The final plan sets aside 46,200 acres in 18 wilderness areas, which is a decrease from the initially proposed 324,000 acres.
  • The plan identifies 772,000 acres suitable for timber production, allowing loggers to produce 55,000 hundred cubic feet of lumber per year. This is a significant increase compared to the 1983 plan.

Flexibility in Addressing Issues

  • The new plan emphasizes flexibility in addressing issues and protecting resources. It includes both hard-set goals (objectives) and suggestions (guidelines) for reaching certain benchmarks in resource protection.

Opinions and Recommendations

Environmentalists’ Perspective

  • Rocky Smith, an environmentalist, believes that logging should be focused closer to infrastructure to limit the impact on water and wildlife habitat in the backcountry.
  • He emphasizes the need for active forest management to mitigate wildfire intensity but argues that logging in the backcountry does not provide proven protection against fires.

Forest Supervisor’s Response

  • Forest Supervisor Chad Stewart acknowledges the need for additional logging to limit wildfire intensity. He states that mitigating adverse effects of logging does not negate the ecological benefits of clearing forests.
  • The new plan allocates 28% of the GMUG as Wildlife Management Areas and limits trail development on 52% of the forest.

Support for Timber Industry and Coal Mining

  • Advocates for a robust timber industry wanted more volume and acres for logging, emphasizing the economic benefits of timber harvests.
  • The plan removes 2,000 acres of the forest from leasing by coal companies and identifies areas that may be unsuitable for coal mining.

Conclusion

Environmental Groups’ Response

  • The coalition of environmental groups is studying the Final Environmental Impact Statement and forest plan and preparing comments to be filed during the objection period.
  • They express their intention to provide further feedback on the plan.

SDGs, Targets, and Indicators

1. Which SDGs are addressed or connected to the issues highlighted in the article?

  • SDG 15: Life on Land – The article discusses the new forest plan for the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forest, which involves logging and the protection of wilderness and old-growth forests.
  • SDG 13: Climate Action – The article mentions the need to address a changing climate with its potential risk of extreme weather events such as drought and severe wildfires.
  • SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation – The article raises concerns about logging on steep slopes impacting water quality.
  • SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production – The article mentions timber production and the need for additional logging to limit the intensity of wildfires.

2. What specific targets under those SDGs can be identified based on the article’s content?

  • SDG 15.2: By 2020, promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests, and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally. The article discusses the increase in logging across the forest and the allocation of acres suitable for timber production.
  • SDG 13.2: Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies, and planning. The article mentions the need to address a changing climate and strategically manage fuels in a rapidly developing wildland-urban interface.
  • SDG 6.6: By 2020, protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers, and lakes. The article raises concerns about logging on steep slopes impacting water quality.
  • SDG 12.2: By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources. The article mentions the need for additional logging to limit the intensity of wildfires.

3. Are there any indicators mentioned or implied in the article that can be used to measure progress towards the identified targets?

  • The number of acres allocated for timber production can be used as an indicator to measure progress towards SDG 15.2.
  • The inclusion of climate change measures in the forest plan can be used as an indicator to measure progress towards SDG 13.2.
  • The impact of logging on water quality can be used as an indicator to measure progress towards SDG 6.6.
  • The amount of timber harvested and the extent of wildfire treatment can be used as indicators to measure progress towards SDG 12.2.

Table: SDGs, Targets, and Indicators

SDGs Targets Indicators
SDG 15: Life on Land 15.2: By 2020, promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests, and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally. – Number of acres allocated for timber production
– Amount of timber harvested
SDG 13: Climate Action 13.2: Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies, and planning. – Inclusion of climate change measures in the forest plan
SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation 6.6: By 2020, protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers, and lakes. – Impact of logging on water quality
SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production 12.2: By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources. – Amount of timber harvested
– Extent of wildfire treatment

Behold! This splendid article springs forth from the wellspring of knowledge, shaped by a wondrous proprietary AI technology that delved into a vast ocean of data, illuminating the path towards the Sustainable Development Goals. Remember that all rights are reserved by SDG Investors LLC, empowering us to champion progress together.

Source: coloradosun.com

 

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