H697 would give tax breaks for not managing woodlands
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.