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Summarized Comments and Author Responses: TERRA-1

Comment no. 32:

There is no attempt to incorporate the findings of two relevant studies that shed significant light on the impacts of industrial forestry practices on biodiversity. The findings from the North Carolina Chip Mill Study (2000) and the Tennessee Valley Authority Chip Mill EIS (1992) should be incorporated into the findings of this section. -- Draft Report

Response by Margaret Griep:

The influence of industrial forestry (including chip mills) is discussed in Terra-4, in some detail. -- Final Report


Comment no. 9:

The report indicates that the south is now on a 40-year rotation for all forests. How will this affect hard mast production and wildlife trends in the future? What is the earliest and optimum mast production age of regional forests and what are the trends projected for hard mast production? -- Draft Report

Response by Margaret Griep:

There is a wealth of published literature on the topic of optimum mast production and forest age. Production is related to several environmental and biological factors; many of these are discussed in Health-2 and Health-3. The future trends projected for hard mast production is a topic of ongoing research. -- Final Report


Comment no. 7:

Discussion about corridors is incomplete. There is confusion at times over the spatial scale at which corridors are being discussed (regional vs local). The report should acknowledge alternative approaches to providing habitat connectivity (e.g., a shifting mosiac approach in which habitats blink in and out across the landscape). -- Draft Report

Response by Margaret Griep:

This section centered on the implications of habitat fragmentation on vertebrate species with numerous references to guide the reader further into this topic. There is ongoing research directed at approaches to providing habitat connectivity within the landscape (such as the shifting mosaic approach); the scope of this chapter was not to discuss management strategies, but highlight the concerns for terrestrial species on fragmented landscapes. -- Final Report


Comment no. 6:

The report should discuss the importance of soft mast to some species (e.g., black bear), and the importance of early successional habitats in providing forage and soft mast. -- Draft Report

Response by Margaret Griep:

The chapter does mention that the relationship between mast and the food habits of bear and other species has been documented extensively (p. 19). However, I have made additions to the section on bear (p. 20) relative to soft mast and early-successional habitats. -- Final Report


Comment no. 5:

Where the Report asserts that "extensive" areas of longleaf pine were converted to plantations of loblolly or slash, it should also note that large areas were converted to other land uses (pasture, agriculture, urban). -- Draft Report

Response by Margaret Griep:

The conversion of longleaf pine to loblolly and slash pine, was cited directed from Noss and others (1995). -- Final Report


Comment no. 4:

The historical conditions section should recognize impact of catastrophic disturbance agents in addition to low-intensity fire. Note also that many southern forests have been in and out of agriculture one or more times. -- Draft Report

Response by Margaret Griep:

The Background History Paper discusses climate change, natural and anthropogenic disturbance, fire, and other factors that have historically influenced the South. The chapter also discusses "the fourth forest" aspect of the region. The history section of Terra-1 was shortened due to page length restrictions and to eliminate duplication with the history chapter. -- Final Report


Comment no. 3:

The cited RPA Wildlife Report data are derived from a partial survey and most groups identified as in decline are not associated with forests. The statement "Biologists from state wildlife agencies expect bear populations to decline somewhat…" is based on information from 4 states that are not identified. Most black bear authorities predict bear populations to be stable or increasing for the southeast as a whole into the foreseeable future. -- Draft Report

Response by Margaret Griep:

The RPA represented the best source of exisiting quantitative data on regional trends for species at the time of this assessment. The RPA is repeated every 5 years and information was solicited from each southern state. (The list of states providing population estimates is available from the Rocky Mtn Research Station). The particular passage referred to here was edited for clarity. However, it is not accurate that "most authorities predict bear populations to be stable or increasing for the region". In Terra-5, southern bear biologists were surveyed about the current status, habitat needs, and management concerns for these species. Bear populations occurring in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, as well as portions of the Coastal Plain in Georgia and South Carolina, are not faring as well as bear populations occurring in the Appalachian mountains. -- Final Report


Comment no. 1:

Your map of existing stands older than 40 years is inadequate. For example, I know for certain that almost the entire Francis Marion NF in coastal SC contains some older stands. The map should be changed to reflect that. -- Draft Report

Response by Margaret Griep:

There is no such map or figure in this chapter. -- Final Report


Comment no. 1:

Most southern biodiversity is secure, despite hundreds of years of intensive and widespread human land use for multiple purposes.Peer-reviewed scientific research supports the fact that industrially managed forests make significant contributions to biodiversity conservation. -- Draft Report

Response by Margaret Griep:

There are 132 terrestrial vertebrates that are of conservation concern in the region. Seven species are presumed or possibly extinct and 26 species have been exterpated from selected states in the South. The losses of community biodiversity (Noss and others 1995) and the threat of continued habitat fragmentation suggest there is much room for improvement. Industrial forests and forest management are examined further in Terra-4. -- Final Report


Comment no. 1:

The report should note that intensively-managed stands could and often do contribute significantly to biological diversity. -- Draft Report

Response by Margaret Griep:

The contribution of industrial forests were not in the scope of the original public questions; however, it was discussed briefly in this chapter. Terra-4 concentrates on the effects of forest management on terrestrial ecosystems across industry and other lands. -- Final Report

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modified: 08-Dec-2013