Resource sustained

To the Journal editor:

A recent letter to the editor by Robert Schmeling questioned some of the harvesting practices by Plum Creek in the Upper Peninsula.

We were surprised and disappointed to read this and have since met with Mr. Schmeling to discuss his concerns. The following serves to clarify some of the misconceptions portrayed in his message.

Plum Creek owns and practices sustainable forestry on approximately 580,000 acres in the U.P. All of these lands are certified under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI).

SFI has a rigorous set of core principles that include measures to protect water quality and wildlife habitat, and provide public recreation opportunities.

Part of our certification requirement is to utilize a forest management planning process to demonstrate long-term sustainable harvest levels.

Our typical management plan for the vast majority of our northern hardwood stands in the U.P. is to select cut the stands every 15 years to continually produce high quality sawlogs and veneer.

In some instances, however, circumstances require an alternative management technique. This was the case for several hardwood stands adjacent to property owned by Mr. Schmeling on the Stonington Peninsula.

The hardwood stands in that area contained a large number of ash trees that would be impacted by the Emerald Ash Borer within several years and had virtually no natural regeneration of hardwood in the understory.

Therefore, we implemented an alternative management strategy for this area. The stands were clearcut and planted with red pine. The red pine plantations subsequently failed due to heavy deer browsing, so the area was replanted to larch. Healthy young stands of larch are now established.

At Plum Creek, we believe that giving back to the community is the right thing to do. Our Foundation support is strong and significant across all 19 states where we do business because it’s part of our core mission to support and help sustain the rural communities where we live and work. Mr. Schmeling’s attempt to connect that community commitment to our harvesting practices is disheartening.

Plum Creek is proud to be a major timberland owner in the Upper Peninsula. The forest management and community activities we are involved in here will help to keep the U.P. an excellent place to live, work and recreate.

Charlie Becker

Senior resource manager

Plum Creek