Article #31, January 2000
By Bill Cook
Anything worth doing is worth knowing more about. In this particular case, Iím thinking about Michigan logging. Our loggers are among the best training and most knowledgeable to be found anywhere. Yet, continuing education is something they are committed to.
For several years, loggers and other folks have been attending Sustainable Forestry Education (SFE) sessions across the Upper Peninsula and Michigan. SFE is offered through Michigan State University Extension and funded through the larger Sustainable Forestry Initiative. This Initiative is a rock-solid commitment on behalf of our forest industries to practice sustainable forestry . . . and make themselves accountable in the public eye. Itís a learning process, not necessarily an end place. I canít think of any group more interested in maintaining healthy forests for the long term than loggers, foresters, and the forest industry. Itís their livelihood!
The SFE began with sessions in forest ecology, best management practices, silviculture (growing trees), and safety. A field day demonstrates many of the classroom concepts and ideas. SFE has expanded into other areas, such as wildlife management, logging truck safety, and visual management. Over 1400 individuals have completed the SFE training, representing more than 700 companies interested in the Upper Peninsulaís forest resources. Private forest owners are beginning to attend these sessions.
Loggers are committed to maintaining a high standard of professionalism. In 1998, a group called the Michigan Professional Loggers Council was formed. Membership requires adherence to quality logging practices and reported violations are investigated. Furthermore, many wood-using industries have demanded their wood suppliers complete the SFE training. There are other continuing education opportunities that loggers attend, too. All these efforts raise the standards of what is already considered good forest practices. And that is good for everybody.
Why mention all this? Well, the forest industry is utilizing our forest resources. We all have a vested interest in their doing a quality job. A healthy forest is key to our lifestyles and economy. After all, the ďU.P.Ē wouldnít be what it is without high quality forests.
The Sustainable Forest Initiative is a national program that the Michigan forest industry has bought into. Itís expensive. Itís a commitment. It has accountability. Itís ongoing. If youíre interested in participating in the SFE program, contact the Dickinson County Extension office at 906-774-7723 or 906-774-0363. You can also find the SFE schedule on the Michigan Society of American Foresters website at http://forestry.msu.edu/msaf.
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Bill Cook is an MSU Extension forester providing educational programming for the entire Upper Peninsula. His office is located at the MSU Upper Peninsula Tree Improvement Center near Escanaba. The Center is the headquarters for three MSU Forestry properties in the U.P., with a combined area of about 8,000 acres. He can be reached at email@example.com or 906-786-1575.
by Bill Cook, Forester/Biologist, Michigan State University Extension, 6005
J Road, Escanaba, MI 49829
906-786-1575 (voice), 906-786-9370 (fax), e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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