Monongahela National Forest has increased timber offered for sale by more than 100% from 2017 to 2023. In Fiscal Year 2023 (10/1/22–9/30/23), the Forest advertised 31.9 million board feet (MMBF) for sale and sold 26.2 MMBF, an amount not achieved since the mid-1990s. A total of 1,990 acres of land stewardship will occur in stands making up those timber sales. As stands are harvested and forest regeneration occurs, foraging and nesting habitat will be restored for numerous wildlife species, such as neotropical migrant birds, pollinators like the monarch butterfly, and the endangered rusty patched bumble bee.
Some of the harvest units in two of the last sales in the FY23 program are designated for harvest by helicopter. Helicopter sales facilitate harvest operations on slopes too steep for conventional, ground-based harvest.
Timber sales are conducted on national forests to help meet the nation’s wood product needs as well as sustain, protect, and restore ecological systems by implementing forest management plan actions. The Forest Service’s multiple-use management helps to ensure an ecological approach for providing the greatest good to local communities.
Receipts from timber sales are used to support essential reforestation, such as post-harvest site preparations for natural regeneration, seedling planting, tree release, and stocking surveys. Some of the funding is used to support future salvage operations from insects, disease, and storm events. Stewardship sales provide the opportunity to perform services that achieve land management goals meeting local and rural community needs, such as invasive species treatments, mineland restoration, and stream improvements. Other favorable outcomes include creation of wildlife openings, improvements to stream channels for aquatic species passage, and maintenance activities on hiking trails to improve nearby aquatic ecosystems.
The Forest is also leveraging stewardship timber sales through partnerships with The Nature Conservancy, Ruffed Grouse Society, and the West Virginia Division of Forestry, with receipts reinvested in forest management projects directly benefitting ecosystem services such as red spruce ecosystem restoration and creating young forests to benefit ruffed grouse and associated species. A Good Neighbor Authority timber sale was recently completed with the West Virginia Division of Forestry that will regenerate an oak-hickory woodland.
For more information about Monongahela National Forest’s timber program, contact Kirk Piehler at firstname.lastname@example.org.