KevinB | Indy Week

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Re: “The Triangle Land Conservancy's deep cuts

Thanks very much to all who submitted questions and comments to me directly or at Yesterday, we posted at the link above TLC’s Q&A Forum.

I am excited about the dialogue that has begun, and TLC staff and volunteers are working to set up additional gatherings to discuss conservation and preservation further.

Kind regards,

Kevin Brice
Triangle Land Conservancy

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by KevinB on 11/02/2011 at 11:58 AM

Re: “The Triangle Land Conservancy's deep cuts

[Posted with Dr. Robert Brown's permission.]

Dear Editor:

Laura Herbst's article, "Deep Cuts" (Independent (10/12/11) gave an unfair portrayal of modern forest management. The article is a general criticism of the Triangle Land Conservancy's (TLC) policy of harvesting trees on its land holdings. The article accurately states that "Today in the Triangle, not a single virgin forest is left." Nor will there be "new" virgin forests or old growth forests in North Carolina. Our environment has changed dramatically, and today's forests suffer from diseases, insects, invasive species, forest fires and hurricanes. All of these threats are exacerbated by global warming. A healthy forest IS a managed forest, and a managed forest is one that has a management plan developed by a forester (as have the TLC's lands), that may include limited-size clear cuts, thinning, prescribed fire, herbicides and pesticides. The former three actions reduce the need for the latter two.

It is unlikely that the 12-acre clearcut for which you criticize the TLC was large enough to be profitable. The timber industry across North Carolina is suffering economically due to the downturn in the housing industry. The income from a small clearcut is usually consumed by the cost of building a road to the site, harvesting, site preparation, and replanting. Plantation forestry is a bit more profitable, but that is not a goal of the TLC. If harvesting is to take place to insure the health of the forest, it only makes sense to sell the timber harvested.

Clearcutting of areas under 100 acres is an acceptable method of forest management. Clearcuts allow vegetation to grow, thus providing habitat for birds and food for other wildlife. Diversity is often increased by the "edge effect." After replanting, when the new trees have grown enough to shade out the other vegetation, another area is often clearcut, thus providing a patchwork of wildlife habitat and uneven aged trees, less susceptible to the threats of disease, insects and fire. The plan for replanting is, of course very important, as to whether the area will be seeded or planted, and whether the replacements trees of hardwoods, loblolly pines or longleaf pines.

Donors to TLC have a right to know how their funds are used and how TLC plans to conserve the land that is purchased or donated. But a preservation approach, hoping that our forests will return to the state they were in hundreds of years ago, is simply not an option.

Dr. Robert Brown
Dean, College of Natural Resources
North Carolina State University
Past-President, The Wildlife Society

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by KevinB on 10/19/2011 at 11:02 AM

Re: “The Triangle Land Conservancy's deep cuts

I was disappointed to read this article. Triangle Land Conservancy’s board, staff and volunteers spent countless hours gathering and sharing information over the past ten months as Laura Herbst researched, wrote, and re-wrote her article. We were accessible, transparent, and more than willing to go in-depth on complex issues.

Unfortunately, the published article did not accurately report all sides of the story. TLC has issued a statement that presents our position, and you can find it at… in its entirety. Let me offer a summary of our position:
In 28 years, TLC has actively managed 200 acres at three nature reserves – affecting 5% of the land we own.
• We selectively thinned 155 of these acres, which catalyzed the growth of important trees like white pines.
• We reclaimed 45 acres to restore native prairie meadows (30 acres) and agricultural fields (15 acres).

With all of our forest stewardship, there is a process that TLC follows.

These forest stewardship activities grossed about $50,000 over a 5-year period. All of the proceeds were used to further TLC’s mission.

Volunteer biologists, botanists and ecologists advise TLC’s staff and board on stewardship activities.

TLC’s board of directors brings a diverse array of expertise to the organization, including science, land and water stewardship, law, business, finance, real estate transactions, and community activism. They have in common a passion for TLC’s mission of voluntary land conservation.
This is TLC’s position. What is yours? Feel free to send me ( any questions that you have this week and next, and I will respond to them in a Q&A format the following week.

TLC’s board, staff and volunteers are not perfect (who is?), and we can improve our policies and procedures. TLC is a small, nonprofit organization that pours all of our resources into permanently conserving land and water—often short-changing the importance of communicating our value to our donors and the larger public. We are mission-driven.

Let me also tell you what we are not. We are not the duplicitous and self-serving organization that was portrayed in yesterday’s article.

Kevin Brice
Triangle Land Conservancy

Posted by KevinB on 10/13/2011 at 3:56 PM

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