Invasive pest hurts state timber sales

Capital news Service
LANSING – The devastating spread of the emerald ash borer shows no sign of slowing and it is causing the pace of timber sales to quicken. Timber sales are important for their contribution to the timber based industry as well as the welfare Michigan residents, according to the Department of Natural Resources. Michigan started seeing an infestation of emerald ash borer in 2002, said Doug Heym, a DNR timber sales specialist. The insect is a beetle that efficiently eats the layer below bark, causing a lack of nutrients, or girdles a tree, leading to its death. “Eggs are laid on the bark of ash trees, and when the eggs hatch the larva under the bark and they eat the cambium layer of the tree,” said Heym.

Rural schools, roads, projects lose in sequestration cuts

Capital News Service
LANSING – Michigan is losing $229,491 in federal timber payments this year because of the budget sequestration – money that would otherwise be used for rural roads and schools, environmental work in the state’s three national forests and county wildfire projects. It represents a 5.1 percent cut in what Michigan would normally receive as its share of revenue from timber sales from Ottawa and Hiawatha national forests in the Upper Peninsula and Huron-Manistee National Forest in the northern Lower Peninsula. Combined, they cover about 2.8 million acres. The National Association of Counties and other organizations are trying to persuade the Forest Service to restore the money. What’s known as the Secure Rural Schools Program provides money for communities “where national forestland is located because they’re logging those areas and the counties would see no revenue from that,” said Ben Bodkin, legislative director of the Michigan Association of Counties.