36 CFR 219.11 - Timber requirements based on the NFMA.

§ 219.11 Timber requirements based on the NFMA.

While meeting the requirements of §§ 219.8 through 219.10, a plan developed or revised under this part must include plan components, including standards or guidelines, and other plan content regarding timber management within Forest Service authority and the inherent capability of the plan area, as follows:

(a)Lands not suited for timber production.

(1) The responsible official shall identify lands within the plan area as not suited for timber production if any one of the following factors applies:

(i) Statute, Executive order, or regulation prohibits timber production on the land;

(ii) The Secretary of Agriculture or the Chief has withdrawn the land from timber production;

(iii) Timber production would not be compatible with the achievement of desired conditions and objectives established by the plan for those lands;

(iv) The technology is not currently available for conducting timber harvest without causing irreversible damage to soil, slope, or other watershed conditions;

(v) There is no reasonable assurance that such lands can be adequately restocked within 5 years after final regeneration harvest; or

(vi) The land is not forest land.

(2) The responsible official shall review lands identified in the plan as not suited for timber production at least once every 10 years, or as otherwise prescribed by law, to determine whether conditions have changed so that they have become suitable for timber production. As a result of this 10-year review, the plan may be amended to identify any such lands as suitable for timber production, if warranted by changed conditions.

(b)Timber harvest for purposes of timber production. A plan that identifies lands as suitable for timber production must include plan components, including standards or guidelines, to guide timber harvest for timber production or for other multiple use purposes on such lands.

(c)Timber harvest for purposes other than timber production. Except as provided in paragraph (d) of this section, the plan may include plan components to allow for timber harvest for purposes other than timber production throughout the plan area, or portions of the plan area, as a tool to assist in achieving or maintaining one or more applicable desired conditions or objectives of the plan in order to protect other multiple-use values, and for salvage, sanitation, or public health or safety. Examples of using timber harvest to protect other multiple use values may include improving wildlife or fish habitat, thinning to reduce fire risk, or restoring meadow or savanna ecosystems where trees have invaded.

(d)Limitations on timber harvest. Whether timber harvest would be for the purposes of timber production or other purposes, plan components, including standards or guidelines, must ensure the following:

(1) No timber harvest for the purposes of timber production may occur on lands not suited for timber production.

(2) Timber harvest would occur only where soil, slope, or other watershed conditions would not be irreversibly damaged;

(3) Timber harvest would be carried out in a manner consistent with the protection of soil, watershed, fish, wildlife, recreation, and aesthetic resources.

(4) Where plan components will allow clearcutting, seed tree cutting, shelterwood cutting, or other cuts designed to regenerate an even-aged stand of timber, the plan must include standards limiting the maximum size for openings that may be cut in one harvest operation, according to geographic areas, forest types, or other suitable classifications. Except as provided in paragraphs (d)(4)(i) through (iii) of this section, this limit may not exceed 60 acres for the Douglas-fir forest type of California, Oregon, and Washington; 80 acres for the southern yellow pine types of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Oklahoma, and Texas; 100 acres for the hemlock-Sitka spruce forest type of coastal Alaska; and 40 acres for all other forest types.

(5) Timber will be harvested from NFS lands only where such harvest would comply with the resource protections set out in sections 6(g)(3)(E) and (F) of the NFMA ( 16 U.S.C. 1604(g)(3)(E) and (F)). Some of these requirements are listed in paragraphs (d)(2) to (d)(4) of this section.

(6) The quantity of timber that may be sold from the national forest is limited to an amount equal to or less than that which can be removed from such forest annually in perpetuity on a sustained yield basis. This limit may be measured on a decadal basis.

(i) The plan may provide for departures from this limit as provided by the NFMA when departure would be consistent with the plan's desired conditions and objectives. Exceptions for departure from this limit on the quantity sold may be made only after a public review and comment period of at least 90 days.

(ii) This limit may be based upon increases in harvest levels based on intensified management practices, such as reforestation, thinning, and tree improvement if such practices justify increasing the harvests in accordance with the Multiple-Use Sustained-Yield Act of 1960. The plan must require that such harvest levels be decreased at the end of each planning period if such practices cannot be successfully implemented or funds are not received to permit such practices to continue substantially as planned.

(iii) The Chief must include in the Forest Service Directive System procedures for estimating the quantity of timber that can be removed annually in perpetuity on a sustained-yield basis, and exceptions, consistent with 16 U.S.C. 1611.

(7) The regeneration harvest of even-aged stands of trees is limited to stands that generally have reached the culmination of mean annual increment of growth. This requirement would apply only to regeneration harvest of even-aged stands on lands identified as suitable for timber production and where timber production is the primary purpose for the harvest. Plan components may allow for exceptions, set out in 16 U.S.C. 1604(m), only if such harvest is consistent with the other plan components of the land management plan.

[ 77 FR 21260, Apr. 9, 2012, as amended at 77 FR 44145, July 27, 2012; 78 FR 23492, Apr. 19, 2013; 81 FR 90737, Dec. 15, 2016]

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