Forestry Management is key to a healthy and sustainable forest in the Village

According to Todd Noles, Common Property, Forest, and Wildlife Manager, for the last 50 years, the timber in the Village has never been managed. “If we don’t do something about it, before long we are going to have to clear cut lots of areas. By saying ‘clear cut an area,’ I mean there will be no trees left in that area.” Noles said that he estimates that 75% of the POA-owned land is overpopulated with trees.

Noles proposed that the Hot Springs Village Property Owners’ Association partner with Green Bay Packaging (GBP) Timber Company. GBP provides sustainable forestry management services to landowners and also maintains over 240,000 acres of its own. Click here to read the Sustainable Forestry Policy for Green Bay Packaging, Incorporated.

Noles said that not only can Green Back Packaging help us to maintain our forests in a responsible and sustainable way, but we can make revenue off of the timber at the same time. “This is a great partnership opportunity for Hot Springs Village,” said Noles.

At the June 6, 2022 Common Property, Forestry, and Wildlife Committee Meeting, Jeff Berry, explained what services the company could provide to manage the HSVPOA woodlands. Berry manages the GBP Landowner Resource Program. This program assists private landowners with “any and all timber management.” This can range from a full-scale, turn-key management program or even just a landowner needing temporary help.

GBP started the program in the early 70s because of the need for supplying pine pulpwood for paper mills. Berry shared, “Our company is a bit of an old-school company. We own it. We own mills.” The purpose of the Landowner Resource Program is to help supply the paper mills. But, signing up with GBP does not obligate the POA to let the company cut timber.

“We don’t have to do anything,” said Berry. “But obviously that is the goal, for us to be able to harvest and supply fiber to our mills.”

The company has around 900 private land owners on its rolls, which consists of 220,000 acres. “The focus of what we do is Plantation Pine Management. But we also manage natural timber lands, hardwood, wildlife leasing, pretty much anything that has to do with forest management,” explained Berry.

Berry stated, “There is a big push now to make sure that the timber companies are practicing sustainable forestry – making sure we are not eroding the soil and protecting waterways.”

Forestry Management Hot Springs Village Jeff Berry
Jeff Berry, Manager at Green Bay Packaging

GBP is an SFI-certified company, which means they adhere to SFI® Standard Principles of Sustainable Forest Management and implement forestry best management practices. GBP is audited by a third party to make sure they are adhering to the standard principles. “At the end of the day, we need to be able to show people we are managing the forest [correctly],” stated Berry.

“We are here to meet your goals and objectives, but most landowners, to be honest, do not have goals and objectives. They don’t understand what they want out of the forest,” said Berry. GBP helps landowners with ten or fifteen-year goals.

Berry said there is a massive problem brewing in the Village. “The reality of the timber is that it is not going to live forever. It has a lifespan. Most people think it will live for hundreds of years. It won’t. Pine especially, you are looking at 30 to 60 years.”

When timber is mismanaged or not managed, there is a risk of IPS beetles. If there are two or three drought years in a row, there could be massive problems in the Village with dead trees. Keeping the trees healthy prevents these problems.

Berry said he would probably recommend doing some thinnings. GBP uses GIS mappings and aerial photographs to help develop a forestry management plan.

Noles explained, “We were going to have to hire a forestry management consultant. If we hire the Green Bay Packaging Company, we no longer need to do that. The Green Bay Packaging program doesn’t cost us anything. GBP will develop a forest management plan and manage it for us. We will still receive revenue, but our primary goal is to maintain the health of our forest. That is the number one thing.”

How Will the Logging Trucks Affect the Roads?

Because of the Village roads, the loggers will need to use smaller trucks. Noles said, “Do we need to bring in smaller trucks? When you build a forest management plan, that goes into the plan.”

Dam Maintenance Cost Reduction

Green Back Packaging can also help with dam mowing maintenance. It costs around $30,000 to mow the dams. GBP can spray the dams using a helicopter for about one-third of the cost.