Best management practices in PA
Posted: November 20, 2011
Best management practices (BMPs) are guidelines set out by states to ensure timber harvesting is in compliance with environmental regulations. In most states, BMPS address water quality, soil erosion, wildlife and other forest values. Pennsylvania has BMPs to protect these forest values but because we don’t have statewide forest regulations, BMPS come under water related regulations.
Every state is a little different in how they address and implement BMPs to meet Clean Water Act standards. The chart shows compliance levels for 32 states with significant forest resources and harvest activity. The numbers come from “Trends for Forest Best Management Practices implementation,” which was published by the Journal of Forestry in Sept. 2010.
I think Pennsylvania does a pretty good job of addressing BMPs for water quality and meeting state standards. That’s why we received a 85% score I think. I’m not sure how the number was derived, but we are at the lower end of the scale and the Northeast has the lowest overall compliance of any region. I would argue that if we covered questions relating to sustainable forestry such as regeneration we would be graded much lower. Why? There are no incentives for sustainable timber harvesting; too many high grades is a case in point. Emerging markets for bioenergy could help by ‘cleaning’ up our forests and taking out low use wood. Lets see how this evolves.
For an overview of BMPs by region, look at National Council for Air and Stream Improvement’s (NCASI), “Compendium of Forestry Best Management Practices for Controlling Nonpoint Source Pollution in North America.”