EDGEFIELD, S.C. — The National Wild Turkey Federation’s (NWTF) Chief Conservation Officer Becky Humphries testified today at the House Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry’s public hearing about the National Forest System and active forest management.
The committee invited the NWTF to speak because of its leadership and expertise in active forest management. The NWTF is a leader in the Stewardship Contracting Program with the U.S. Forest Service, partnering on 81 projects nationwide in the last decade.
The NWTF recognizes the role that active, sustainable forest management plays beyond economically supporting local communities.
“Throughout the United States, we are losing forest diversity on a landscape-level scale, threatening habitat for species like the wild turkey, golden-winged warbler, New England cottontail, gopher tortoise, red-cockaded woodpecker and many more,” said Humphries. “Active management of our federal forests reduces devastating wildfire, reduces insect and forest disease, and increases forest health and diversity.”
The management of healthy forests is made economically viable through the harvest and sale of forest products and timber.
“Timber sales offset the costs of reforestation, invasive species control, prescribed fire and timber stand improvements. No forest management at all will result in more wildfire, decreased forest health, more endangered species, water quality decline, and fewer mills to supply the demand for wood products,” said Humphries. “If federal forests are not managed, devastating wildfires and insect and disease epidemics will spread to adjacent state and private forestlands, sinking that investment as well.”
The NWTF and Humphries recommended that federal agencies expand collaborative efforts in both planning and implementation, plan work at a landscape scale for better results, and use the tools that Congress has provided to the fullest extent possible.
Humphries also asked Congress to address the way that they fund wildfire suppression, and asked them to allow broader use of categorical exclusions for forest management practices with a known record of impacts, and to consider arbitration as an alternative to costly litigation.
To read the entire written statement, view the statement in PDF form.
The issue of proper forest management is critical to the NWTF achieving objectives outlined in its Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative. Sustainable forest management is critical to providing quality habitat for the future of wild turkey and other wildlife, and ensuring there are sustainable populations for continued hunting.
About Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt.
The NWTF Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative is a charge that mobilizes science, fundraising and devoted volunteers to give the NWTF more energy and purpose than ever. Through this national initiative, NWTF has committed to raising $1.2 billion to conserve or enhance more than 4 million acres of essential upland wildlife habitat, create at least 1.5 million hunters and open access to 500,000 acres for hunting, shooting and outdoor enjoyment. Without hunters, there will be no wildlife or habitat. The NWTF is determined to Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt.
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