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“It is the most far-reaching, holistic approach to forestry on private lands ever taken anywhere,” said Donn Zea, Vice President of Industry Affairs at the California Forestry Association.
Zea was commenting on the new Sustained Yield Plan requirements. In February of 1994, the California Board of Forestry enacted Section 913 of the Forest Practices Act, requiring that any company owning commercial forests larger than 50,000 acres prepare a Sustained Yield Plan.
The plans will estimate the maximum level at which the company can harvest trees while at the same time growing as much as they cut. The plans will look not only at timber harvest over time, but also at the sustainability of all forest resources, including wildlife, watershed and soil.
The completed plans will outline what steps need to be taken to achieve such an environment in 100 years. The Board will then require that this plan be carried out and that no company harvest more in any ten-year period than is mandated by the plan.
California already has the most stringent Forest Practices Act in North America, requiring companies to submit a comprehensive report, called a Timber Harvest Plan, on every commercial harvest project.
Dennis Orrick, Timber Harvest Plan Administrator of the California Department of Forestry comments, “Although nobody likes to be told what to do by the government, the rule will ultimately benefit the economic condition of the landowner. Decisions made in the board room are often based on short term cash flow. In the future, there will be reasoned decisions made by professional foresters based on long-term results.”
Timberlands Manager at Simpson Timber Company comments, “Critics have decried the forest products industry saying that they are in it for the short run. In fact, most of the large companies have been here for a long time. Simpson Timber Company is 106 years old. Forestry is, by nature, a long-term business. The benefit of the plan is to more easily show that already-existing future commitment.”
Georgia-Pacific Corporation’s plan requires sophisticated computer mapping and modeling plus on-the-ground inventory taking to survey its 195,000 acres. G-P's Resource Manager said, “This plan does not change the company philosophy. We’ve already achieved and are practicing sustained yield. It is, however, useful to have a formalized road map for the next 100 years.”
The Pacific Lumber Company has retained experts in aquatic morphology, wildlife biology, forest management and other disciplines and a consulting company that is helping prepare what the company's Resource Manager calls “ of the most sophisticated forest management models ever developed.” He adds, “The long-term plans and analyses have been useful to us in confirming that our forestry practices have and will continue to achieve sustained yield. It is a new and unique way of regulating forest management on private lands.”
Donn Zea concludes, “The reality is that it is an added assurance to redwood users that private forest lands already regulated by the most intensive and comprehensive forest practices in the world now have been incorporated into a 100-year strategy that further guarantees redwood forests for generations to come.”

this page last updated: December 01, 1998