The U.S. Forest Service has stated the Jellico Project offers the following benefits:
“Implementation of this project would create approximately 3,700 acres of young, even-aged forest, 1,600 acres of mid age, even-aged forest, 3,500 acres of mid age, two-aged forest, and 1,000 acres of mature, two-aged forest at project completion. The result would be the addition of approximately four 10-year age classes and at least 3 new forest structures across the project area, creating a more balanced age and structure distribution (Appendix 3 – Estimated Acres Per Age Class and Structure). This would bring the project area closer to the desired future condition of a 170-year rotation comprised of seventeen 10-year age classes, each containing around 800-1,000 acres (Forest Plan Objective 1.K-1.A, page 3-35), while simultaneously achieving a variety of other goals and objectives.”
Responsible forest management in general can offer the following benefits:
Improve Forest Health
Logging removes dead, damaged, diseased, and weak trees, helping to improve overall forest health and prevent the spread of fungi or bacteria that may damage other trees. Remaining trees also benefit from additional sunlight and air circulation.
Reduce Invasive Species
Logging removes invasive tree species like Tree of Heaven, White Mulberry, Bradford Pear, and Sumac, along with invasive shrub species like Autumn Olive, Honeysuckle, and Privet.
Provide Raw Materials
Based on weight, the consumption of wood far exceeds that of other raw materials. Logging is the primary source of timber, which of course, is used to build homes, furniture, flooring, and many other products, including pulp, paper, and chemicals. Wood is still an important fuel in much of the world.
Allow Ground Plants to Flourish
Logging produces a lower density forest, which allows more sunlight and air to reach the forest floor, thus encouraging the growth of grasses, shrubs, ferns, and other desirable plants for wildlife.
Reduce Chance of Wildfires
Logging itself doesn’t prevent forest fires, but it reduces the fuels that make wildfires burn hotter and faster. Proper forest management removes dead and weak trees and ground clutter, adds space between trees and occasional clearcut fuel breaks, and provides road access for firefighters to reach wildfires in remote areas.
Reduce Tree Competition
High tree densities in mature forests mean more competition for a limited amount of nutrition. Trees survive on sunlight, rainwater, and oxygen. Old trees become unnecessary competition for young growth.