Elk NetworkWildlife Coalition Supports Wisconsin Forest Management

General | July 1, 2024

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation added its voice to a collaborative effort of 30 conservation, pro-hunting, professional forestry and other organizations in support of a forest management effort in Wisconsin.

The 12,277-acre Fourmile Project would improve wildlife habitat and reduce the risk of large-scale wildfires in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. Plans include creating 5.3 miles of controlled burn lines and 1.2 miles of new access road construction, while maintaining more than 36 miles of hunter-walking trails, all contributing to the enhancement of the forest ecosystem in line with the forest’s plan.

“Forests are dynamic collections of equally important seral states. Climate resilience, carbon optimization, and biodiversity are maximized when many forest ages are interspersed across landscapes. Accelerating (rather than halting) the pace and scale of restoration work identified in existing Forest Plans will most rapidly lead to resilience,” according to the joint letter forwarded to the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. “Establishing more natural diversity in stand age and structure through proactive management is essential. A forest mosaic of young, middle-aged, and old stands optimizes biodiversity and carbon outcomes, resists catastrophic disturbance, and recovers from unforeseen stresses most readily. A sole focus on mature and old growth as suggested by some will inhibit adaptive capacity for climate resilience.”

Some environmental groups oppose healthy forest management. The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest completed all the required processes to secure this project’s approval, including the National Environmental Policy Act, project scoping, the public commenting process and an environmental analysis.

(Photo credit: Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest)