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Wayne National Forest re-establishing native hardwood

NELSONVILLE — The Wayne National Forest is accepting comments on a proposal to harvest of about 3,000 acres of planted pine to encourage the re-establishment of native hardwood trees and the creation of young, brushy forest to provide a diverse wildlife habitat.

The forest that regrows would be a mix of trees native to the area. Natural regrowth could be supplemented with planted trees.

The areas under consideration are in Athens, Hocking, Monroe, Noble, Perry and Washington Counties in the Athens Ranger District of the Wayne National Forest.

Pine plantations, which were established in large numbers across the Athens Ranger District around 30-70 years ago, were intended to reforest lands that had been cleared and put to other uses, such as farming or mining. When those practices ceased, pines were often planted to rapidly re-establish tree cover and mitigate widespread sedimentation and soil erosion.

“These pine plantations have met their intended purpose of reforestation and soil stabilization, and today we have an opportunity to expand on these prior restoration efforts by harvesting the pines to improve forest habitat for plants and wildlife,” said Athens District Ranger Jason Reed. “Our native plants and wildlife are adapted to live in diverse deciduous forests as opposed to the dense, shaded habitat of a single-species pine plantation.”

Information about this and other projects being developed and analyzed can be found online at the Wayne National Forest website at tinyurl.com/y6vqlua4.

Comments can be submitted through the online commenting system at tinyurl.com/y76ydxra, by email to comments-eastern-wayne-athens@usda.gov, or by mail to Wayne National Forest, MAPP Project Comments, 13700 US Hwy 33, Nelsonville, OH 45764. Include your name, current physical mailing address, phone number, and signature or other verification of identity with your comments.

Calls to discuss the project can be made at (740) 753-0101 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.

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