Massacoe State Forest (stand 20) is long-recognized as a major east-west wildlife corridor. It is the connection between a core forest and core area on the Eastern Wildway. Unfragmented forest is a conservation priority, and Massacoe is special because it has virtually no invasive plants. It hosts breeding populations of migratory songbirds such as ovenbirds and wood thrushes. It is working at its highest potential to mitigate climate change.
Hundreds of homes surround this natural area. We need and rely on this forest more than ever as a cool, quiet, natural refuge. Many nearby state parks and forests are overcrowded and have even been forced to closed on multiple occasions.
Right now Massacoe State Forest has a rich and healthy understory, with many different sizes, ages and species of trees and plants. It has natural gaps due to storm events. Truly problematic trees can be felled by hand and left on site to fertilize the forest. Eliminating unnecessary intervention now will save money in the long run and keep carbon out of the atmosphere. This project releases carbon that was safely stored above and below ground. It is displacing or killing an unknown number of species and individuals.
We support good forestry, where needed. But a timber harvest and forest remodelling is not the best future for this healthy little community forest. If the demand for regional wood products is so severe that these 80 acres are needed then we should immediately stop exporting wood and make wood recycling and reuse a high priority.
Please review existing policies to ensure they support local wood use, recycling and reuse and responsible forestry in suitable areas. Practitioners deserve a fair wage for their work and private landowners should receive a fair value for timber. For many reasons we need a balance that includes natural self-sustaining public forests.