March 25, 2021
RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) – Scientists are calling for a 50% to 60% reduction in timber production for the Black Hills National Forest over the next several decades.
A 68-page report released Tuesday by the USDA Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Research Station is based on forest census data taken over a two-year time frame. It evaluates harvest level sustainability.
The recommendation follows a mountain pine beetle infestation that killed nearly nine million ponderosa pine trees in the Black Hills and an increase in the extent and severity of wildfires.
The report said the current volume of standing live sawtimber does not support a sustainable timber program at recent rates of harvest.