Forest management rules gain approval

The Pinelands Commission has approved new rules aimed at encouraging specific practices that can be used to sustain and improve the overall health of Pinelands forests.

According to a press release, the rules detail a series of recommended, ecologically based forest management techniques that are incorporated in amendments to the Pinelands Comprehensive Management Plan, the rules that govern land use and natural resource protection in the million-acre Pinelands area.

A portion of Jackson lies in the Pinelands.

“Effective, proactive management of Pinelands forests can help preserve and enhance the region’s unique ecological character, including important habitat for native wildlife,” said John C. Stokes, executive director of the Pinelands Commission. “These new provisions provide specific direction to potential applicants regarding techniques they can employ to better manage Pinelands forests while avoiding negative environmental impacts.”

The Pinelands Comprehensive Management Plan (CMP) recognizes that the proper management of Pinelands forests will increase their economic value to their owners while also preserving and maintaining the region’s ecology.

In 2004 the commission asked its Forestry Advisory Committee to review, clarify and refine the forestry provisions in the CMP.

Specifically, the committee was asked to recommend management practices designed to ensure that forestry activities in the Pinelands are consistent with the commission’s mandate to protect and maintain the region’s sensitive environment while ensuring that forestry remains a viable economic and cultural resource, according to the press release.

In 2006 the committee issued a report that suggests methods to improve forest management planning on private and state-owned properties and recommends a series of silvicultural practices for forestry in the Pinelands. The recommendations guided the commission’s amendments to the CMP.

The amendments define 14 different forestry techniques and indicate where and how a particular practice should be conducted, and what controls should be applied to avoid potentially negative environmental impacts, according to the press release.

In addition to adopting the new forest management standards in the CMP, the Pinelands Commission proposed a rule amendment that further clarifies specific limitations on the use of disking (a forestry technique in which one or more steel disks are drawn across a site to cut through soil and roots) in pine-shrub-oak forest types.