Lawmakers eye changes for managed forestland law

The MFL changes are finally hitting the mainstream media. This article appeared in the State Journal over the weekend. [Note: The Legislative Council Study has entered the Senate as SB161.]

Lawmakers eye changes for managed forestland law (WSJ)

Leasing would seem to be would seem to the hot topic. I was contacted by another outlet related to it, and this article stresses that as well.

The piece that always seems lost in discussions of public access, land protection, and other discussions of the program is its statutory purpose.

(State statute 77.80) states…

The purpose of this subchapter is to encourage the management of private forest lands for the production of future forest crops for commercial use through sound forestry practices, recognizing the objectives of individual property owners, compatible recreational uses, watershed protection, development of wildlife habitat and accessibility of private property to the public for recreational purposes.(emphasis added)

The Study Committee spent some time discussing the purpose, but decided not to change it. An instructive comparison is to the purpose that guides State Forests (as pointed out by Paul Pingrey in his September 9, 2010 testimony, [link broken] scroll down).

The department shall manage the state forests to benefit the present and future generations of residents of this state, recognizing that the state forests contribute to local and statewide economies and to a healthy natural environment. The department shall assure the practice of sustainable forestry and use it to assure that state forests can provide a full range of benefits for present and future generations. The department shall also assure that the management of state forests is consistent with the ecological capability of the state forest land and with the long-term maintenance of sustainable forest communities and ecosystems. These benefits include soil protection, public hunting, protection of water quality, production of recurring forest products, outdoor recreation, native biological diversity, aquatic and terrestrial wildlife, and aesthetics. The range of benefits provided by the department in each state forest shall reflect its unique character and position in the regional landscape.(State statute 28.04)

I don’t believe that public and private lands should be managed the same, but it is curious to me how we segment and define the differences.

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