November 10, 2016, Wisconsin Public Radio News
Wisconsin lawmakers directed the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to make more acres of northern Wisconsin state forest available for timber harvest. The direction would classify 75 percent (up from 66 percent) of state forest acres as production areas primarily managed for timber. The nearly 40,000 acre proposed increases would be in the Brule River and Northern Highland American Legion state forests. Lawmakers say this increase will support the forest products industry and the 60,000 people it employs in the state while maintaining or even improving wildlife habitat and aesthetics. The Wisconsin Chapter of the Wildlife Society is concerned that an increase in forest production may not benefit all wildlife habitats, aesthetics, or biodiversity. The DNR said they've tried to choose forestland that will support timber production and wildlife habitat management, the plan is to create forests of diverse ages on the landscape. The WI DNR is currently summarizing the public comments received on its Master Plan variance to reclassify the lands as forest production and will report on them at a later date.
December 19, 2016, Wisconsin Public Radio News
Some northern Wisconsin loggers who have seen prices of delivered wood drop over the last eight months are choosing to curtail production and wait to harvest their timber sales. The loggers are able to produce the wood but want to adjust their production to match what area mills can accept. The factors believed to be driving the full wood yards is speculation that mills are not running at full production, logging capacity is sufficient and inventories were increased by favorable summer weather logging conditions. This development is making some northern Wisconsin counties nervous about uncut timber sales, dollar values of stumpage on the books, and the increased environmental risks associated with carrying timber inventory. Because of poor logging conditions during the last few winters, land managers are seeing timber contracts going uncut and being extended. While sawmill owners could currently accept more timber, and would like to direct wood to their facilities, they struggle with the market's rapidly changing log prices. While holding off on timber harvest is unusual for this time of year, Forrest Gibeault, an analysis and investment operations director with Steigerwaldt Land Services, says there's no significant shift in market trends to cause concern for any part of the industry.
More information Wisconsin Loggers Holding Timber Harvests