The Andrew Pickens (AP) Ranger District is in the early stages of developing a White Pine Management Project proposal for the Sumter National Forest in SC. The AP District held a public meeting about this project in December 2018. The Chattooga Conservancy went to this meeting (that was very sparsely attended!), and learned a few details. The draft project currently proposes about 800 acres of uneven-aged and 1,400 acres of even-aged cutting, for a total of 2,200 acres of affected forest. Those numbers might change before the proposed action is finalized for the public scoping notice, but Victor Wyant, Timber Sales Administrator with the AP District, says they likely will not change much–unless the Forest Service changes their basis for determining which treatment to propose for a given white pine stand. According to Victor, “currently the basis is to use ecological classification modeling combined with field reconnaissance to determine if the stand is dry upland lower quality (better suited for shortleaf pine/oak forest type), vs. moist/mesic lowland higher quality sites (better suited to white pine / yellow-poplar, hemlock, maple, and other species).” The project reportedly only would include white pine plantations, and would not affect natural white pine stands.
Meanwhile, on a related subject, many people have expressed concerns and complaints about the Loblolly Pine Removal & Restoration Project that is currently underway in the AP District, which, like this white pine project, is being promoted in the name of “restoration forestry.” We urge folks to get ahead of the curve by learning about these big “restoration forestry” logging projects during the agency’s planning and scoping process, where public pressure has a better chance of affecting the outcome! We’ll post opinions, updates, deadlines and other suggestions on how to become involved.
Chattooga Conservancy attended the public meeting for this project held on 12/13/2018.