Ruminations on Mon Timber Harvesting Planning and Wildlife Management Planning–Twin Misguided Cousins

By Jack Slocumb

I have been reading in the Voice about the development of the Management Plan for the Mon. In regard to timber harvesting operations, I would like to suggest that the Conservancy push very aggressively that all harvesting activities be certified by The Forest Stewardship Council. I haven’t read anywhere that this is being practiced in the Mon or that the Forest Service intends to do so in the future. But maybe I’m wrong. Conservancy members who are currently involved with providing the Conservancy’s input into the planning process would know, I’m sure. 

Certification by the Forest Stewardship Council, as you or others in the Conservancy may already know, insures that the harvesting operation is done in such a way that assures maximum forest sustainability of the harvested area, protects biodiversity, protects flora and fauna native to the area being harvested, maximizes soil conservation and health, and protects waterways in the area from runoff siltification that could result from the harvesting process. 

I feel that the Forest Service, being the government agency that is specifically charged with the responsibility for protecting the ecological health of federally owned forest lands, should be obligated to accept nothing less than harvesting in compliance with Forest Stewardship Council guidelines regardless of special interest pressures to do otherwise. 

I also have also read for years a lot about “wildlife management” – with tongue in cheek and a chuckle. I personally feel that this is an absurd concept. It’s not the wildlife that needs to be managed, it’s human impacton wildlife that needs to be managed. If this is done, I think the wildlife will be just fine. For millions and millions of years, wildlife has thrived on its own without the humans intervening to “manage” it. In the same vein, “forest stand improvement” programs, to me, are just a silly. It is nothing less than hubris that leads people to believe they can do better than nature itself in somehow making the forest more healthy. And, further, I must confess that I have a strong suspicion that “forest improvement” is just code for promoting the maximum yield of commercially harvestable timber. God.

I would really be interested in hearing what the Conservancy’s stance might be on these concepts.

Perhaps I can get an animated dialogue going.


Come, come

say those jiggling white ashes

of gnats netting my face

Did you know we dance

when orphans

walk our way,

that we wait for

the nubs

of leaves to trim

clipped bereft


and the trembling tremolos 

of bog frogs – 

when we know

you will drift in

seeking home?

And the raven, too,

graveling thwowrck, thworck;

could be kind words of 



to a neighbor

who has been 

too long away

lost in digital distances

now at last

showing up

Come, come

And the fresh ascending

lushly verdant blade

of grass over there

with a single

stuck on white spongy

plug of a cocoon

whose held flecky eggs 

that might open any second

into yet wingless 

earth enraptured crawling forms

and receive me

Come, come, yes

come to us  

with your hunger and thirst

they seem to voice,

come and eat

this freshly risen

spring redeemed bread

and drink this newly honeyed 

wild wine

with us,

come, yes again,


                        By Jack Slocumb