A Rainforest Alliance project team consisting of a forestry socio-economic assessor and a wildlife ecologist toured Gallitzen, Clear Creek and Sproul state forest districts. They met with DCNR officials and stakeholders, scoring woodlands on timber-resource sustainability, forest-ecosystem maintenance, financial and socioeconomic considerations and other categories. Auditors sought stakeholder input on deer impact in the forest; implementation of the Deer Management Assistance Program; forest regeneration; and remediation of trails following a motorcycle enduro race in Sproul State Forest.
Specifically, Rainforest Alliance applauded the bureau for:
- Habitat enhancement in a reclaimed surface coal mine, now home to threatened and endangered bird species, and designated as a High Conservation Value Forest in Gallitzin State Forest;
- Cooperation, training, co-coordination and research efforts with the USDA Forest Service in addressing potential regeneration shortfalls in Clear Creek State Forest;
- Reduced impact of the July 2012 motorcycle enduro race in Sproul State Forest; trail remediation after the event; and efforts to balance stakeholder needs and sound forest management in overseeing an event that drew some 250 participants.
"In each of these districts auditors also looked at the overall condition of our forests, roads, trails and infrastructure," Allan said. "Every employee should feel proud of the work they have done to help us maintain such a high standard."
The evaluation team and Rainforest Alliance work with the bureau to resolve any issues found during audits. Streamlining of special activity guidelines on motorized trails were requested in the 2012 study, and suggestions were made to improve stakeholder input and regeneration surveys after timber harvests."Just as recycled products have become common in the marketplace, many environmentally conscious timber consumers look for 'green' wood grown in certified forests," Allan said. "Continuing certification is especially good news when you consider our quality hardwoods help support the state's $7 billion forest products industry that employs more than 60,000 people." Copies of the Rainforest Alliance 2012 state forest evaluation and the State Forest Resource Management Plan can be found at http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/forestry/stateforestmanagement/index.htm. Media contact: Terry Brady, 717-772-9101 SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources