“Old forest” bill awaits governor’s decision

H697 would give tax breaks for not managing woodlands

Logging truck in Vermont

By Guy Page

Advocates of working forests hope Gov. Phil Scott will veto H697, which would give private property owners preferential tax breaks for letting their woodlands acquire “old forest” status. 

The bill claims that allowing little or no management of formerly-working forests would benefit wildlife habitat and slow climate change. 

Common Sense Radio host Bill Sayre, guest host Guy Page, and several forest management experts will discuss this issue today at 11 AM. Listen at AM 550 or www.wdev.com. The call-in number is 802-244-1777. 

In fact the opposite is true, wood forest products advocates say:

  • In addition to the economic benefits for  the landowner, loggers, mills and other forest operations and their communities, responsible forest management enhances the general health of the forest by reducing crowding and susceptibility of insect and disease attacks and forest fires.
  • Diversity of tree and plant species can be enhanced, and wildlife habitat is enhanced for all native animals. Both water and air quality are enhanced by vigorous tree growth, because strong trees “hold the soil,” thus preventing erosion, and emit oxygen while consuming CO2. 
  • Carbon storage continues, and sequestration is improved, with vigorous growth and conversion of trees into furniture, lumber, and other forest products. 

Another no-development bill also passed the Legislature this year and faces a decision by Gov. Phil Scott. H606, community resilience and biodiversity protection, would set a goal of conserving from development 50% of Vermont’s total land area. The bill passed the Vermont House by 98-42 March 15.

Categories: Legislation

5 replies »

  1. The argument for “old growth” is an argument between the beliefs of conservationists, and preservationists. On the one hand you have conservationists that see a renewable resource, that can be managed for the good of all. On the other hand you have preservationists, that believe that nature is best left to it’s own devises, regardless of renewability. Personally when it is forestland that is in question, I come down the side of conservationists. Not only will the forest grow back, but it provides work for loggers, wood for heat, and construction, and in the mean time it provides food, and cover for wildlife that just does not exist in “old growth” forests. Old growth (unmanaged) forest benefit very few species as compared to properly managed forests. Am I saying that there should be no old growth ? No, but mandating a certain amount of acreage is just a foot in the door for preservationist groups, which I personally do not see as a good thing.

  2. This old growth idea is nonsense. Have any of these people ever tried to hike though a wilderness area? It essentially makes the land useless for people and wildlife. Not to mention the fact that when these area catch fire, there is no way to stop the fire. See what happens in California. Lets pay to move the people who want this there.

  3. Then was does my forester seem so timber oriented? This must be a fuel thing regarding logging, trucking and milling equip. As an ecologist and wildlife biologist, this goes against everything ive learned.

  4. No forest management equals forest fires!!!
    The fires in CA should be an easy lesson! The smoke that pours into the skies are WAY worse for the environment. Sad thing is, when fire does strike, you blame it on global warming, when the fact-of-the-matter is lack of forest management! Not to mention the hundreds of thousands of jobs you destroy that used to do forest management!

  5. Welcome to the new sister state of Vermontifornia. 😒 Copying the worst they have to offer!