The Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation is pleased to announce that Commissioner Michael Snyder has adopted a set of voluntary harvesting guidelines for private landowners to help ensure long-term forest health and sustainability.
In 2013 the Vermont General Assembly passed Act 24, requiring the Commissioner of Forests, Parks, and Recreation to "develop voluntary harvesting guidelines that may be used by private landowners to help ensure long-term forest health and sustainability." The Commissioner and staff with the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation began this process with the formation of an Advisory Committee, which represented a broad group of stakeholders interested in the sustainability of Vermont's forests. The Advisory Committee along with technical experts including some within the Agency of Natural Resources, reviewed current research and drafted guidelines for the Commissioner's review. Throughout the process, the Department and Advisory Committee offered multiple opportunities for public comment.
"These voluntary timber harvesting guidelines will help forest landowners make wise decisions on the management of one of their most valuable assets -- their forest" said Steven Sinclair, Vermont State Forester. "We are excited to be able to provide a comprehensive list of positive actions and things to avoid when conducting harvesting operations." The sixty-two page guide is broken into six chapters covering planning for a harvest, conducting a harvest, protecting water quality, protecting soil health and productivity, biodiversity and wildlife habitat, and planning for uncertainty.
The department also acknowledges the hundreds of landowners, foresters and logging contractors whose work in forest management and harvesting shape the landscape of Vermont and the contents of these guidelines. Their commitment to forest stewardship is demonstrated every day.