Tennessee's Forest Management Advisory Panel, widely split on key issues
only three weeks ago, has hammered out 29 recommendations for state
forest-use policies, its director said last week.
Gary Schneider, forester and associate dean of Agricultural Sciences and
Natural Resources, said the recommendations emphasize education, research,
incentives for ecologically-sound management practices and funding
mechanisms for the state plan.
A draft of the report goes to Gov. Don Sundquist, the Tennessee Forestry
Commission and state legislators this fall.
Schneider said each recommendation had to receive approval from at least 15
of the 29 voting panel members. Twenty-four of the 29 points were supported
by more than 75 percent of the panel, he said.
"It was different for such a diverse group to reach an acceptable
compromise on so many issues," Schneider said. "But they found effective
ways to reach a constructive accord for their somewhat disparate
"That willingness to seek a balance between often competing interests was
the key element in reaching a majority consensus."
Schneider said recommendations were directed at state-owned forests,
non-industrial private landowners, and blanket recommendations for all 13
million acres in Tennessee, regardless of ownership.
Points covering state-owned lands seek to increase research, education and
personnel for state forest lands; encourage public participation in state
forest planning; and establish management planning for non-game species,
such as some birds and other wildlife that are not hunted.
The panel suggests establishing a mechanism to allow private landowners to
challenge government restrictions on land use. It also endorses incentives
such as tax breaks for voluntarily use of best management practices to
minimize water pollution and habitat destruction.
Other panel recommendations include:
--establishing forest management education programs to teach
environmentally acceptable harvesting techniques, safety and general
forestry in state high schools and technical schools.
--increased punishment, such as fines, for loggers who violate water
--reduction of forest fragmentation.
Schneider said the panel also outlined potential funding strategies to
raise revenues for forest management, such as a $1-$2 increase in vehicle
license fees, or a severance tax on cutting trees, producing fiber and
other forest products.
The group has met monthly since January. At a meeting less than a month
ago, members failed in their first attempt to agree on
Schneider said panel members overcame many of their differences to reach
consensus this week.
"They realized it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to improve state
forest management policies, and they worked hard to make it happen," he
said. "I was optimistic from the beginning, but the success of this
operation has exceeded my expectations."
Tennessee forestry panel decides on recommendations
Published: Tue Sep 01, 1998 | Modified: Sat Aug 06, 2005 01:41 p.m.