Wisconsin tribe has much to teach us

Re: "Manage forests for the future," Oct. 17.

The editorial correctly observes that B.C.'s public forests must be managed for the future. The Menominee native Americans in Wisconsin are an excellent example of people doing this.

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In 1854, they were confined to their current reservation of 235,000 acres. To survive off the limited land base, the tribe decided it must manage its forest for future generations. The rate of logging must never exceed the forest's ability to replace itself.

Today there is more standing timber (1.9 billion board feet) on the Menominee Forest than when they started (estimated 1.2 billion board feet) in 1854. During the same period, more than 2.25 billion board feet have been cut. The initial volume has been logged twice.

The Menominee have a continuous forest inventory system to monitor their forest's growth and health. Cut control is based on silvicultural prescriptions, not cut control (which B.C. does).

They have an open-door policy of technical information exchange with government and forest-industry forest.

Most Menominee foresters and technicians are tribal members, with a personal connection to their forest. They have a "What's best for the forest?" philosophy. They incorporate goals for cultural resources, diversity, wildlife habitat, water quality and esthetics into their logging plans.

Their local sawmill employs 125 workers and 180 more in the woods. Many people travelling the highway through the Menominee Forest think it is a park.

The Menominee are conserving and managing their forests wisely for both the long and short term. We can learn from them.

Ray Travers

Victoria

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