State increases timber cut

The Idaho Department of Lands plans to increase timber harvests in state forests, including a big jump in the cut produced by the St. Maries office.

The Idaho Department of Lands announced a 33 percent increase in timber harvests for the next five to 25 years.

According to the lands manager for the IDL St. Joe Region, Rick Arcano, timber harvests will increase 60 percent from the 2009 plan.

“At the St. Joe Area, we have increased our timber harvest level from 50 million board feet per year in our 2009 FAMP to a planned 80 million board feet per year in fiscal year 2022. This is an increase of 60 percent from fiscal year 2009 levels,” Mr. Arcano said.

The 60 percent increase in timber harvests is the result of improved management processes and staff efficiency according to Mr. Arcano. The harvest is expected to address overgrowth that makes timber stands more susceptible to fire and disease according to IDL.

“We are always susceptible to fire and of course insect and disease,” Mr. Arcano said.

He cited root disease and various bark beetles are common threats to forest health.

“By having a younger forest it is more resilient to all of those things,” Mr. Arcano said. “We are trying to avoid mortality because that is lost revenue for the endowments.”

IDL expects revenues to increase proportionately to harvest levels and to be distributed across the state.

Mr. Arcano said timber sales are expected to increase in volume and number. Revenue from timber sales is deposited into a state endowment fund for distribution.

In fiscal year 2019, $256,075.77 was distributed to St. Maries and Plummer-Worley school districts according to IDL. A University of Idaho study shows that for every 1 million board feet of timber harvested, 24 local jobs are supported. The updated plan would support approximately 720 more jobs in the St. Joe region.

Planting efforts will be increased as well.

“Tree planting and other forest management activities will increase proportionally with increased harvest levels,” Mr. Arcano said. “In calendar year 2021, we plan to plant 607,500 trees.”

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