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MEC analysis: More timber being cut from Michigan’s state forests; harvests at or near sustainable levels

Apr 23, 2013
Harvests of timber on state-owned land have generally increased – even during the recent recession – and are at or near sustainable levels, according to an analysis conducted by the Michigan Environmental Council (MEC).

The analysis, in a report titled “Managing Michigan’s state-owned forests: Harvest levels, market trends and revenue realities” was released at the beginning of today’s invitation-only timber summit in Lansing called by Gov. Rick Snyder. The governor has said he wants to develop a “business plan” for the industry that calls for increasing jobs and economic impact from timber-related activities.

“Recent proposals to significantly accelerate harvests on state-owned land have gained traction with lawmakers,” said Brad Garmon, director of conservation and emerging issues for MEC. “We hope this report provides some context for those proposals, including how it might impact other forest uses and how Michigan’s timber production fits into a changing national and global market.”

Among the report’s findings:

• Over the last half-century and even during the recent recession, timber harvests and sales from state-owned land have increased. Current harvest rates are comparable to rates on private land, even though state forests are managed for multiple uses (not just timber). State land harvests bring in more revenue than neighboring Great Lakes state forests.

• The majority of Michigan’s 4.6 million acres of state land is open to timber harvests. Most land is managed for timber with the cooperation of the logging industry, and has been for decades.

• The current rate of harvest from Michigan state forests is at or very near sustainable levels.

• Market forces including the recession, housing slump and overseas competition are more powerful drivers of the character and volume of Michigan’s timber harvest than either policy or regulatory activities.

The report is available at MEC’s web site here.

(This release was revised slightly on May 2, 2013 to reflect updated data on harvests from Michigan's federally-owned forests)
Brad Garmon: 517-214-1075
Hugh McDiarmid Jr.: 248-660-4300
Ellen Holste: 515-890-7978
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