Ten Second Response #51702 Appendix - May 17, 2002

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8 May 2002


The Honorable President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

Too often, commercial forest management practices are portrayed as solely a means to harvest wood fiber. This oversimplification is inaccurate and serves only to further polarize already disparate publics regarding the management of our National Forests. Thoughtfully implemented forest management practices are essential elements of a balanced approach to science-based forest stewardship, an approach that addresses the interests of sportsmen and other dedicated wildlife conservationists.

We recognize the need to conserve old forests in many areas on our National Forests. However, the young forest habitats created today almost solely through forest management practices are important to many popular game species. The lush herbaceous vegetation that flourishes after a mature forest stand is harvested provides high-quality forage for elk, mule deer and white-tailed deer. Insects, abundant in these temporary openings, provide wild turkey poults with an important source of protein to meet the energy demands of growth. Black bears feed on the fruits and berries that thrive in these openings, a food source relatively unavailable in the shade of the mature forest. The thick, almost impenetrable cover of young forest habitats provides ruffed grouse and American woodcock with protection from a host of potential predators.

Certain nongame wildlife species also depend upon the habitats created by forest management practices. The golden-winged warbler, a species that is seriously imperiled throughout much of the eastern United States, commonly nests in very young forests. The Kirtland's warbler, a federally endangered species that is only 10% as abundant as the northern spotted owl, breeds only in very young stands of jack pine in central Michigan. Forty-five percent of the global population of Kirtland's warblers breeds on the Huron-Manistee National Forest.

No single forest, young or old, pine or hardwood, can provide suitable habitat for the full array of forest wildlife. But a diverse forest landscape, supporting young and old stands of all native forest types, can help to sustain local wildlife populations. Old forests develop only through time; young forests develop only through disturbance.

Historically wildfire was the principal agent of disturbance responsible for the establishment of young forests. Today, wildfires have been drastically reduced on most landscapes. Although neither prescribed fires nor forest management practices can precisely replicate the effects of wildfire; both can provide wildlife habitats similar to those historically created by fire.

Forest management practices, including commercial timber harvest and prescribed fire, are essential tools in the maintenance of diverse, healthy forest landscapes. The removal of either of these tools from the hands of trained resource professionals on our National Forests would be a disservice to sportsmen and, more importantly, our nation's forest wildlife.

 

Sincerely,

 

Daniel R. Dessecker
Senior Wildlife Biologist
Ruffed Grouse Society

Ray Lee
Executive Director
Foundation for North American
Wild Sheep

Richard Lane
Chief Executive Officer
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

Terry Z. Riley
Director of Conservation
Wildlife Management Institute

Scott Hartman
Director, National - International Affairs
National Trappers Association

Jay McAninch
Chief Executive Officer and President
Archery Manufacturers and
Merchants Organization

Bud Pidgeon
President
US Sportsmen's Alliance

Matt Hogan
Conservation Policy Director
Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation

James Earl Kennamer
Senior Vice President,
Conservation Programs
National Wild Turkey Federation

Terry Wayne Cloutier
President and CEO
The Mule Deer Foundation

Tom Franklin
Policy Director
The Wildlife Society

Paul W. Hansen
Executive Director
Izaak Walton League of America

R. Max Peterson
Executive Vice President
International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies

Gray N. Thornton
Executive Director
Dallas Safari Club

Jeffrey B. Schinkten
President
Whitetails Unlimited

David Howell
Director, Agriculture and
Wildlife Services
Quail Unlimited

Susan Lamson
Director, Conservation, Wildlife and Natural Resources
National Rifle Association

A.C. Smid
President
Bear Trust International

Phil Reddock
National Chapter Director
Buckmasters American Deer Foundation

Hyland B. Erickson
Immediate Past President
Shikar Safari Club

Mark W. Johnson
Executive Director
Minnesota Deer Hunters Association

William Leipold
President
Vermont Federation of
Sportsmen's Clubs

Joe Wilkinson
President
Iowa Wildlife Federation

C. Randall Byers
President
Pope and Young Club

Peter Roemer
Deputy Chair Conservation Committee
Camp Fire Club of America

David M. Knotts
Executive Vice President
International Hunter Education Association

Doug Grann
President and CEO
Wildlife Forever

Earl Morgenroth
President
Boone and Crockett Club

Kirby Brown
Executive Vice President
Texas Wildlife Association

Chris M. Marino
President
Connecticut Sportsman's Council

Melody Zullinger
Executive Director
Pennsylvania Federation of
Sportsmen's Clubs

 

 

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